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UMHB women’s basketball uses defensive dominance to overwhelm McMurry at home

BELTON, Texas- In a rematch between two teams who had faced off less than a week prior, the UMHB women’s basketball team rolled over McMurry at home, taking down the Warhawks 72-28.

Allowing just 28 points in a conference game is a true sign of defensive dominance. The Cru, clearly understanding the gameplan, gave McMurry no easy looks from anywhere on the floor. That was evident in the box score, as the Warhawks were held to a shooting percentage of just 22 percent, converting 10-of-45 shots from the field. Led by Allaira Jones, who posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, the Cru dominated on the glass, outrebounding McMurry 52-29. Not to mention the fact that UMHB forced 26 turnovers, which resulted in 19 points.

As previously mentioned, these two squads met on the court in Abilene this past Saturday, with UMHB earning its largest conference win of the season, defeating McMurry 70-49. It was a phenomenal victory, especially coming off last Thursday’s loss to Hardin-Simmons. However, that 21-point victory was quickly overshadowed in terms of largest conference win, as Thursday’s win saw the Cru double Saturday’s margin, holding a 44-point advantage by the time the final buzzer sounded.

Interestingly, McMurry scored first, taking an early 3-0 lead behind a Valery Alvarado three-pointer nearly two minutes in. The Cru would counter before the Warhawks went up 5-4 midway through the first quarter. As it turned out, it was the last lead they would hold, as a jumper from Jones ingnited a 13-0 run to begin the second quarter, with UMHB taking a 23-9 lead. By the half, the Cru had the game won, as McMurry scored a mere two points in the entire second quarter. A 25-11 lead at the half only grew as the second half got underway, with the Cru playing phenomenal defense while going on an 8-0 scoring run to begin the third quarter.

As in most dominating performances, nearly the entire bench was emptied, with freshmen earning more minutes and playing more of a role in the victory. That is not uncommon from head coach Mark Morefield’s team though, as he does not stick to a tight rotation, often playing 12 or more players in a single game. On this particular night, 15 players saw the floor, all but two of them scoring. In addition to Jones, who led the team in both points and rebounds, freshman Meagan Johnson doubled her career high in points, putting eight on the board in the fourth quarter. Guard Bethany McLeod and forward Hannah Eggleston scored in double-digits for the Crusaders, as each had 10 points.

The Cru shot 46 percent from the field in the contest, but will need to improve its three-point shooting, as UMHB was just 1-of-12 from behind the arc, thanks to a three from guard Olivia Champion.

The victory moves UMHB to sole possession of first place in the ASC West Division, with a 4-2 conference record. Hardin-Simmons sits at No. 2, with a 3-2 conference record.

The Cowgirls of Hardin-Simmons, who defeated Concordia Thursday night by a score of 73-49, will battle UMHB on Saturday afternoon in Belton. That contest will tip-off at 1 p.m. CT.

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