After losing five of its previous six games coming into Wednesday's contest vs. Alvernia, the Lycoming College women's basketball team needed to play with a greater sense of urgency if it planned on ending the string of tough losses that has plagued the team so far this January.
Fortunately for the Warriors, that's exactly what they did.
Posting the second-highest scoring total that it has all season, Lycoming beat the Crusaders, 68-55, in one of the best team efforts the Warriors have shown this season.
"I thought our team energy was tremendous," Lycoming head coach Christen Ditzler said. "We didn't start out real well, but I thought the last ten minutes of the first half we did a great job and had a tremendous run."
During that stellar run at the end of the first half, Lycoming (8-9, 5-6 Commonwealth) fought its way back from a 16-24 deficit, finishing the half with 41-31 advantage.
Lycoming's senior forward Julia Antonelli deserves much of the credit for keeping her team afloat during their early struggles. Matched-up against Alvernia's 6-foot-2 center, Tyra Roberts, Antonelli was forced to switch from her usual post-oriented style of a play and began to lean more on her mid-range game. It played into her favor, as she shot 8 for 12 from the field, and ended the half with 18 points, while adding two assists, seven rebounds, and two blocked shots.
The Warriors also enjoyed a great performance from sophomore guard Chelsea Henderson, who entered the game from the bench and provided Lycoming with a huge burst of energy almost immediately.
After scoring four points near the end of the first half, Henderson re-entered the game midway through the second half, in the midst of an Alvernia (6-12, 2-9) resurgence, which saw the Crusaders pull within seven points of the Lyco lead. But Henderson's high-energy style of play quickly wore on the Crusaders, and helped inspire her teammates to pick up the pace, as she scrapped for loose balls on the floor and did a nice job covering the boards as well. She ended the game with a season-high six rebounds and 13 points, shooting 5 for 5 from the field.
"We needed this a lot, because we needed to build our confidence to end the season right," Henderson said. "We need to continue to play how we played today, and continue to play our game."
Ditzler said that she was happy to see her team respond to the second-half adversity in such a positive way.
"We responded and built our lead back up again, which was something I haven't seen this season," she said. "So I was really proud of them for that."
"I thought we had two quality practices leading up to today's game, and I am hopeful that helped propel us to this win."
Ditzler hopes that the win will serve as a launching point for a Warriors team that is still hunting for a spot in the MAC Commonwealth playoffs. Lyco sits in a 3-way tie with Albright and Widener for the fifth and final spot in the MAC?Commonwealth playoffs with a month in the regular season.
But more importantly than that, Ditzler said that the win was big because it will help boost team morale.
"We had some pretty tough games on the road, and some games we let get away from us," she said. "We couldn't afford to let that happen tonight."
ALVERNIA (6-12, 2-9 CC)
Tyra Roberts 6-12 1-2 13; Chelsea Ebersole 4-8 0-0 12; Kaitlyn Yoh 3-17 2-2 8; Mya Lobb 1-5 3-5 5; Taylor Eckley 2-2 0-0 4; Jamie Swaboski 1-1 0-0 3; Alisa Greco 1-5 1-1 3; Stevie Fortna 1-2 0-0 3; Morgan Downs 1-1 0-0 2; Kerry Johnson 0-0 1-2 1; Ann Walker 0-0 1-4 1; Jenna Wolff 0-1 0-0 0; Logan Focht 0-0 0-0 0; Lindsey D'Agostino 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-54 9-16 55.
LYCOMING (8-9, 5-6 CC)
Julia Antonelli 9-19 3-5 21; Chelsea Henderson 5-5 3-4 13; Ali Derr 5-11 1-2 11; Nicole Calella 4-10 2-3 10; Victoria Siebecker 2-2 0-0 6; Janelle Ziminski 2-6 0-0 5; Olivia Manges 1-4 0-0 2; Victoria Kowalski 0-0 0-0 0; Rachel Duncan 0-0 0-0 0; Kelly Pankowski 0-0 0-0 0; Dejonia Reid 0-1 0-0 0; Jenna Morgan 0-1 0-0 0; Rachel Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-59 9-14 68.
Halftime:?Lycoming, 41-31. 3-point goals--Alvernia 6-12 (Ebersole 4-8; Swaboski 1-1; Fortna 1-2; Wolff 0-1), Lycoming 3-8 (Siebecker 2-2; Ziminski 1-3; Calella 0-1; Manges 0-2). Fouled out--Derr. Rebounds--Alvernia 33 (Yoh 9; Roberts 9), Lycoming 38 (Antonelli 15). Assists--Alvernia 10 (Yoh 5), Lycoming 19 (Antonelli 5; Calella 5). Total fouls--Alvernia 15, Lycoming 16. Technical fouls---None. A-520