MANSFIELD - In the first meeting with Cheyney, the Mansfield Lady Mountaineers were fortunate to escape with a 57-54 win on the road.
In the rematch Saturday afternoon, the Lady Mounties didn't need a Harry Houdini effort to escape with the sweep as they built up a 15-point lead before settling for a 69-59 win at Decker Gymnasium.
"We said that we did everything in the second half that we intended to do in the first half," said MU head coach Ruth Hermansen. "We missed a lot of layups in the first half and we missed a lot of free throws in the first half as well. We made some adjustments and that allowed us to finish strong in the second half."
The Lady Mounties sprinted out to a quick 7-2 lead, but Cheyney came back strong to take their first lead in the game (9-10) six minutes into the period.
The Mounties tied the game at 12-all on a free throw by Monique Webley, but the Wolves answered the call by putting together a 12-3 run to go up by nine with seven minutes on the clock.
Not to let things get away from them facing the 9-point deficit, the Lady Mountaineers outscored the Lady Wolves 16-8 in the final seven minutes of the period to cut the Cheyney lead to a single point (32-31) at the break.
During the opening half, Mallory Moore led MU with 16 of her team-high 23 points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Moore completed her double-double with 13 rebounds.
"I look at myself as a team leader and when the team is down, I feel like I have to step up," said Moore. "If I can do that, I can motivate them and keep them going and that is what I tried to do today. I knew we were down a lot and I knew that if we want to get to the playoffs we better start playing. This is my last year to try to make it (post-season) so I decided to kick it up into another gear and I guess it worked."
Not happy with the first half, Moore felt there was a lot more business to take care of.
"Our first half wasn't good and if we could have taken it back and started over, we would have," she said. "The difference in the second half was that we shared the ball equally and played as a team. We were looking for the open person and it just all fell together."
Coming out of the break, Mansfield took a 4-point lead on a three-point play by Moore and a layup by Jena Matter, and for the next eight minutes, the Mansfield lead remained in the 2-4 point range.
Not content to let the Lady Wolves hang around, the Mountaineers, on the strong efforts inside of Matter, steadily pulled away for the 10-point win. Matter finished with 18 points, 12 in the final nine minutes.
"We found her in the second half," said Hermansen. "Marrysa Moyer made some nice passes and Jena was able to finish. We ran some high-low sets to get the ball to Jena and they did a good job getting it done. Mal Moore's three at the end of the first half was huge for us because that gave us a lot of momentum going into the second half."
As for her second half success, Matter felt it was just a matter of her being able to execute.
"I had the same opportunities in the first half that I had in the second half, but I just wasn't following through and making my shots," said Matter. "We talked at halftime that I needed to square up on the basket, use my angles and finish the play."
With the team staying in the hunt for a possible playoff berth, Matter felt that would be a nice way to finish the season.
"I never made the playoffs in college and I think that would definitely be a great experience," Matter said. "I am looking forward to the possibility of making the playoffs and hopefully we can continue to play well and get there."
CHEYNEY (0-22, 0-18)
BROWN, Nadirah 9-19 7-8 25; DeJESUS, Aerie 5-11 0-0 13; GARRETT, Brooke 4-7 0-0 8; MILLER,Lachelle 2-6 1-2 7; HENDERSON, Linda 1-8 0-0 3; HILL, Denise 1-2 0-0 2; PETERSON, Alexis 0-4 1-4 1; McGRIFF, Kyra 0-0 0-0 0; RUSSELL, Tamara 0-3 0-0 0; THOMAS, Shanavia 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-62 9-14 59.
MANSFIELD (9-13, 6-12)
MOORE, Mallory 10-17 4-5 25; MATTER, Jena 7-12 4-4 18; HAFER, Meredith 2-7 0-0 5; WEBLEY, Monique 0-0 5-7 5; STEVENSON, Julia 2-3 1-2 5; ESPIGH, Kayla 1-4 1-2 4; HAFER, Morgan 1-1 2-2 4; MOYER, Marrysa 0-7 3-4 3; BOWNE, Jess 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-51 20-26 69.
Halftime: Cheyney, 32-31. 3-point goals--CHEYNEY 6-14 (DeJESUS 3-4; MILLER 2-4; HENDERSON 1-4; BROWN 0-2), Mansfield 3-15 (ESPIGH 1-4; HAFER 1-4; MOORE 1-4; MOYER 0-3). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--CHEYNEY 33 (BROWN, 15), Mansfield 40 (MOORE 13). Assists--CHEYNEY 10 (DeJESUS, 6), Mansfield 17 (MOYER 5). Total fouls--CHEYNEY 21, Mansfield 11. Technical fouls-None. A-313