Above photo by Neil Faux/@FauxFx
ATLANTA, Ga.- The UMHB women’s basketball team is leaving Atlanta undefeated.
Less than 24 hours after defeating Emory, 63-59, the Crusaders returned to the court in triumphant fashion, coming away with a 75-53 win over Lynchburg, as they improved to 2-0.
“22 point-wins are not easy in college basketball,” UMHB head coach Mark Morefield commented postgame. “I think it says a lot about what we were able to do.”
How it happened
An unparalleled defensive effort was the primary vehicle in the quest for victory, as the Crusaders shot a decent 39 percent from the field, and made just five three-pointers on 23 attempts, but also forced 20 Lynchburg turnovers that led to 28 of UMHB’s points.
“Forcing them into turnovers and converting off those turnovers [was big],” Morefield said. “That’s what we continually preach. Today we were able to get a stop defensively, get a score, and then come down and get another stop. That’s something we need to be consistent in.”
The first of those points off turnovers came just over two minutes into the contest, when Payton Hicks stole an errant Lynchburg pass and quickly dribbled up the floor. The ball eventually found its way into the hands of Jaycie Brisco, who drained a three-pointer that put the Cru in front, 7-2. Both Brisco and Hicks finished with 12 points in the victory.
UMHB only added to its advantage after Brisco’s early three-pointer, going up by as much as 21-5 with 2:26 in the first quarter.
“This was a bigger game today than yesterday to gauge where we’re at,” Morefield said. “‘Can we be consistent and stay within the gameplan and the details?’ Regardless of the opponent, we have to be consistent in all facets.”
The Crusaders left no doubt, outscoring the Hornets in three of the game’s four quarters. Lynchburg struggled to put together scoring runs, as UMHB’s defense proved consistent time and time again. Only once in the first half did the Hornets score on consecutive possessions, and their best run came midway through the fourth quarter, when they scored on three straight possessions. Of course, it did little to change the significant lead for the Crusaders, who scored five points of their own in that span of 75 seconds.
“You can’t let your offense dictate your defense,” Morefield mentioned.
He specifically noted the five he had on the floor to open the third quarter when the topic of defensive intensity came up. The Crusaders made just three of their first 10 shots coming out of halftime, but held Lynchburg to just five points in that span, on a pair of free throws and one three-pointer.
“That group did not let their offense dictate their defense, and continued to defend at the level we expect from our players,” Morefield added. “That’s the hardest thing for a freshman, because coming from high school, so often you let your offense dictate how you play defensively. So for them to grasp that at such a quick turnaround speaks volumes for the IQ and understanding they have.”
The freshmen who played; Catalina Cortez, Rece Merrill, Kenna Gibson, Addy Self, Alli Stilp, Katelen Brooks, Cortni Harris, Josie Bruder, and Brooke Srncik, accounted for 16 points, three assists, and 16 rebounds. In a game with a wider margin than Saturday’s four-point win, Morefield used his entire bench, and felt the newcomers earned quality collegiate minutes that will help them down the road.
“You have to get them that experience,” Morefield noted. “And defensively, I feel like we are way ahead of where we usually are, especially with the newcomers and freshmen. Offensively, I’m not worried about that. That’s just going to come with getting in the gym and getting more shots up.
“Usually it’s been the other way around for us, where we can’t get a stop, but we can score,” Morefield. “I’d rather be able to get stops right now. [Today], we may have not been scoring at times, but we didn’t give up runs and stayed very solid defensively.”
UMHB visits Schreiner on Nov. 30 in their final non-conference game before ASC play begins. Schreiner is 1-3 overall.
Points: Arieona Rosborough (15), Jaycie Brisco (12), Payton Hicks (12)
Rebounds: Ashley Faux (7), Addy Self (7), Abby Lebhertz (5)
Assists: Arieona Rosborough (8), Ashley Faux 2), Payton Hicks (2), Catalina Cortez (2)