Above photo: Ashley Faux (center) led UMHB’s effort with 11 points and 15 rebounds on Saturday night (Photo Credit: Neil Faux)
FOREST GROVE, Oregon–The defensive effort was near-perfect coming out of the gate on Saturday night for the UMHB women’s basketball team. No matter what Pacific tried, the Boxers struggled on the offensive end. So much so that after one quarter, the scoreboard inside the Stoller Center read: UMHB, 18, Pacific, 0.
The 18-0 scoring run gave the visitors from Belton separation early, as UMHB claimed its third straight win, 58-44. The Crusaders have now won at least three of their first four games for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
UMHB also had plenty of success in the rebounding battle, especially on the offensive end, which contributed to the victory. The Crusaders tallied 23 offensive boards, leading to 17 second-chance points, something head coach Katie Novak-Lenoir noted postgame.
“Those extra possessions were key for us,” Novak-Lenoir told True To The Cru. “We didn’t do a good job of finding the open man, [and] our shots after the first quarter didn’t come in the flow of the offense. But a hot start and consistent rebounding saved us.”
The strong opening quarter set the tone for the contest, as UMHB settled into a defensive rhythm. Pacific took 12 shots in the first 10 minutes, 10 of which were taken inside the 3-point arc, and yet came away scoreless. The Boxers turned the ball over eight times as well, contributing to UMHB’s 18 straight points and Pacific’s repeated empty possessions.
While UMHB did not shoot especially well in the opening quarter, going 8-of-27, the Crusaders found opportunities from short-range. 14 of their 18 points came in the paint and they tallied a total of nine points off Pacific’s turnovers.
Maintaining the lead became the focus as the next three quarters played out. Throughout the second quarter, UMHB continued its success on the defensive end, though Pacific made adjustments and put 11 points on the board, shooting a slightly-better 4-of-13 heading into halftime. The Cru scored 12 points of their own in that span, taking a 30-11 lead into the intermission.
The Boxers’ 8-0 scoring run in the early minutes of the second half quickly gave momentum to the hosts, who sought their second victory of the season after defeating Chapman handily, 78-52, on Friday night. Despite UMHB’s significant advantage, Pacific clawed back, cutting the Crusaders’ lead to 32-17 on a well-executed fast-break play that ended with Emily Holsan swishing a one-handed floater and Novak-Lenoir quickly using a 30-second timeout.
Though Pacific scored coming out of the brief timeout, UMHB countered with four straight points and extended the lead back to 17 points on Lauren Baker’s jumper with 2:44 left in the quarter.
The Boxers made a handful of attempts at cutting the Crusader advantage to single digits over the final 12 minutes, and with 2:29 remaining, converted on a layup that made it 54-44. Ashley Faux and Lauren Baker responded with layups on consecutive possessions, putting the game away as the clock ticked below two minutes.
“[It was] not our sharpest night, but we have a lot to go on,” Novak-Lenoir said. “I’m proud of the whole team for the effort, and finishing strong.”
Faux contributed in a noticeable way to UMHB’s victory, finishing with double figures in both points (11) and rebounds (15). Her 15 rebounds marked a career-high for the senior forward from Frisco, and she was on the floor for 33 minutes, tying her previous career-best.
UMHB Stat Leaders
Points: Ashley Faux (11), Remi Adeleke (11), Alexis Carmosino (9)
Rebounds: Ashley Faux (15), Jaycie Brisco (9), Kaitlyn Kollmorgen (6)
Assists: Jaycie Brisco (2)
UMHB has a short break from game action before tipping off again, hosting Schreiner in the home opener on Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. in Belton. The Mountaineers enter the matchup with an 0-2 record on the season.