Above photo of Ashley Faux by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru
ABILENE, Texas- Ashley Faux scored 14 points in the first half of UMHB’s 82-52 win over McMurry on Thursday night. But she did not stop there.
The sophomore forward connected on 10-of-16 attempts on her way to a career-high 25-point performance. It was just the spark UMHB needed, as the Crusaders earned their first ASC road win of the year, and moved to 4-2 on the season, 2-0 in conference play.
“First half, we kind of came out lethargic, not playing defensively like we were capable of playing,” UMHB head coach Mark Morefield said postgame. “Then we got into a rhythm a little bit, and pushed it up to a 10-point lead.”
As well as the Cru finished the game, it took Morefield’s team a few minutes to find traction in the opening quarter. UMHB did not score until the 6:18 mark of the first quarter on YuYu Adeleke’s layup, and that came after McMurry had opened the game with a 6-0 lead. But Aja Holmes answered the call midway through the first, and scored each of the Cru’s next five points, putting the visitors from Belton in front, 7-6, with 4:15 to play in the quarter.
“Our posts stayed on the block, we were attacking the gaps, reversing the ball which made [McMurry’s] zone defense shift, and then being able to attack on those ball reversals,” Morefield said. “That’s the important thing.”
UMHB took a 17-12 lead entering the second period of play, after closing out the opening quarter on a 10-6 scoring run over the final four minutes. Though McMurry’s Emily Holland got a layup to fall 16 seconds into the second quarter, cutting the UMHB lead to three points, the Crusaders pulled away on three straight free throws from guard Alexia Martin. A Holland three-pointer put the War Hawks back in it, however, trailing just 21-19 at the 6:40 mark. That is when Faux took charge. She tallied six of UMHB’s next eight points, and gave the Crusaders a double-digit lead, 36-25, with just 55 seconds left in the half. A jumper at the buzzer capped off an astounding second quarter for the sophomore, as the Cru took a 38-30 advantage into halftime.
For as much as the first two quarters provided foundation for the Crusaders, the third quarter was when UMHB truly claimed the win. Discipline defensively held McMurry to just nine attempts from the field in the quarter, and the War Hawks only converted on two of those, going nearly seven minutes without scoring. That allowed Morefield’s team to outscore its opponent 25-8 in the quarter, opening it with a 19-0 run. Not surprisingly, it was Faux who ignited that run, with a three-pointer on UMHB’s first possession of the second half.
“When you put up 25 points in 21 minutes, that’s pretty good,” Morefield said of Faux. “The other thing tonight was that she handled the ball well. She wasn’t trying to force things. She would back it out and see the floor. The 25 points is great, but the patience to not force the issue, is evidence of the continued growth she’s having.”
The Cru went on to outscore McMurry 19-14 in the final quarter, claiming its second consecutive 30-point victory. Last Friday, UMHB defeated Ozarks in the ASC opener, 72-42. But the slate does not get any easier from here, as No. 14 Hardin-Simmons is the Crusaders’ next opponent. That matchup is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. CT in Abilene. The Cowgirls dominated Concordia (TX) on Thursday, winning 80-48 at home.
“It’s going to be good to see where we stand,” Morefield said of Saturday’s matchup. “These are both good teams.”