Above photo of Arieona Rosborough by Luke Zayas/True To The Cru. Rosborough had a team-high 14 points for the Cru.
BELTON- The Mark Morefield era reached a notable high on Saturday afternoon.
The UMHB women’s basketball team, ranked No. 20 in the nation, extended its win streak to 15 games in a 72-48 victory over McMurry, led by 14 points from Arieona Rosborough and 13 from Alexia Martin. It is the longest win streak in Morefield’s seven-year tenure in Belton, as the Cru is now 13-0 in conference action, having not lost since Nov. 26.
“Stuff like that doesn’t really matter to me at this stage in my career,” Morefield said of the win streak. “If I looked into it, I would be going against what I’m telling these girls about going ‘1-0’. In order to have that mentality, it has to start from the top.”
Shooting 53 percent in the first quarter was a solid start for the Crusaders, who took a 23-14 lead after the first 10 minutes. Martin tallied eight straight points for UMHB midway through the quarter, including two three-pointers, as the Cru took a 19-11 lead, and opened the second quarter on an 8-4 scoring run.
UMHB continued to add to its 37-25 halftime lead in the third quarter, tallying 21 points, five of which came from Rosborough. With just 2.1 seconds in the third, the guard made the first of two free throws, and after missing the second, rebounded her own miss and put up a layup, which fell through at the buzzer.
It gave UMHB a 58-38 lead, the Cru’s largest of the game, and for the fourth quarter’s entirety, the lead was never reduced to less than 18 points. Post Kaitlyn Kollmorgen was three-of-three shooting with six points in the final quarter, and Paula Rosello, a transfer guard, made her UMHB debut with four points in five minutes of fourth quarter action.
“She can be a good asset for us,” Morefield said of Rosello postgame.
As UMHB closes out its week with two victories, here’s a closer look at Saturday’s win:
What Went Well
Strong defensive presence: The Crusaders forced 21 turnovers in the contest, 11 in the second half, which led to 19 of their points. Working as one unit, UMHB limited kept the Warhawks away from the rim for much of the first half, holding McMurry to a shooting percentage of just 31 percent in the opening quarter. The Cru also held the visitors from Abilene to a mere nine offensive rebounds, controlling the glass behind the play of Kollmorgen, Catherine Kaiser and Ashley Faux.
Morefield: “We had 11 steals and I thought we executed our game plan well. In the flow of the game, mistakes are going to happen, but we didn’t get hurt by the primary purpose of their offense, which is getting cuts to the basket. I thought we came up with some big steals by doing that. We let our defense lead to offense.”
Offensive rhythm was found early: UMHB led for the game’s entirety, setting the pace on the offensive end early. 13 seconds in, Kollmorgen connected on a turnaround jumper in the paint, and just over a minute later, Faux’s first three-point attempt of the day fell through. Faux added four more points in the quarter, and Martin helped add to the lead, making both of her three-point attempts along with two free throws in the opening period.
Martin: “I’ve just been trying to stick to my routine every day. If I hit [a shot], I hit it, and if I don’t, I just have to keep working hard. That’s the strength of our team.”
Offensive putbacks came at the right times: UMHB had three notable rebound-putbacks in the contest, including Rosborough’s momentum-gaining play at the third quarter buzzer. Kenidi White did the same with 17 seconds left in the fourth quarter, rebounding her missed three-pointer, before driving into the paint for a layup.
Morefield: “We have several assets to our team. One of those is our length and athletics, which gives us that ability to go in and be able to crash the offensive glass. Those are things that are critical. You have to control the glass, have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and hold your opponent below 35 percent on field goals to win a championship.”
UMHB travels to LeTourneau on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. before facing UT-Dallas at 1 p.m. on Saturday. LeTourneau is 9-6, with a 6-4 ASC record after Saturday’s 67-65 road win at Belhaven. UTD is 10-4, 9-2 in conference, with its two losses coming at UMHB and at ETBU on Saturday afternoon.
Morefield: “We played in some pretty solid environments. This is a small road trip, compared to the road trips we’ve had recently. These players are about playing in the moment, and that helps when you go on the road.”