Coming off of a two-game win streak and its best offensive showing of the season on Saturday, the Lycoming College women's basketball team was looking red-hot in the days leading up to its Wednesday night matchup with the MAC Commonwealth's top-ranked Messiah Falcons at Lamade Gymnasium.
But much like the high winds and heavy snow brought in by Winter Storm Nika, the Warriors, too, turned ice cold.
Posting its second-lowest scoring total of the season, after hitting a mere 19 of its 48 field goal attempts, Lycoming was romped by a Messiah team that shot 53-percent from the field and lost, 64-49.
Jenna Morgan of Lycoming looks to shoot as Messiah’s Emily Martz defends Wednesday at Lamade Gym.
"It looked like we shoveled the entire Lycoming parking lot and we had no energy left to play this game," Lycoming's head coach Christen Ditzler said. "It was a landslide."
Lycoming (9-10, 6-7 CC) kept pace with Messiah (14-6, 10-3 CC) throughout the first half, despite hitting only 10 first-half shots and making it to the line just twice. The Warriors entered the locker room at half with a six-point deficit, down 29-23, but seemed to be playing competitively against one of the Commonwealth's greatest powers.
However, after Messiah's senior guard Katelyn Vanderhoff began the second half with consecutive steals, which helped her score four points in the half's first 30 seconds and the Falcons quickly buried the Warriors with an offensive avalanche. Lycoming never recovered after a 19-0 run.
Vanderhoff ended the game as Messiah's leading scorer, with 15 points on seven field goals, while adding three assists. She also led the falcons defensively, with six defensive rebounds, five steals, and a blocked shot.
"We just weren't focused tonight, and I didn't think we responded to adversity the way I would like us to," Ditzler said. "Things weren't going our way, and instead of fighting back and finding a way to combat those things, we let it affect us.
"Is that the sign of a younger team or a team that just isn't ready to compete with the No. 1 teams yet? I don't know, but we will figure that out," said Ditzler.
Ditzler was pleased to see her team hold Messiah to 64 points, especially after the Falcons dropped 81-points against Albright on Saturday. She said the team's defensive strategy went according to plan, as they were able to keep their hands in the faces of the Messiah guards, and limited the success of the Falcons' 6-foot-2 forward Gillian Glackin.
However, Ditzler was not as impressed with the Warriors' offensive showing.
"To hold them to 64 was okay," she said "But offensively we just didn't show up. As hot as we were last game, that's how cold we were in this game."
The lone bright spot for Lycoming offensively was the play of Julia Antonelli, who scored 16 points on the night, making her just the seventh player in school history to reach 1,100 points. Antonelli also shot 2 for 3 at the line, while adding two assists and five offensive rebounds for the Warriors. She was the only Warrior to hit more than 3 shots from the field.
Ditzler said that she is hopeful the Warriors will be able meet Messiah down the road in playoffs, where the teams could play for the third time this season. Right now, the team finds itself deadlocked with Albright and Widener for the fifth and final spot in the Commonwealth tournament.
"That's going to be our goal," she said. "But in order to reach that goal obviously we need to take it game by game."
MESSIAH (14-6, 10-3 CC)
Katelyn Vanderhoff 7-10 1-1 15; Gillian Glackin 4-6 4-5 12; Dominique Seamon 4-5 3-3 11; Hannah Nichols 4-7 0-0 9; Taylor Miller 3-8 0-0 7; Chelsea Danel 2-7 0-0 6; Sienna Wisse 1-2 0-2 3; Sierra Schimizzi 0-0 1-2 1; Emily Martz 0-1 0-0 0; Kelsie Hitesman 0-1 0-0 0; Libby Timmer 0-0 0-0 0; Deanna Eyerkuss 0-0 0-0 0; Jocelyn Chavous 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-47 9-13 64.
LYCOMING (9-10, 6-7 CC)
Julia Antonelli 7-16 2-3 16; Olivia Manges 2-9 2-2 7; Victoria Siebecker 3-10 1-2 7; Chelsea Henderson 3-7 0-0 6; Nicole Calella 1-5 4-6 6; Janelle Ziminski 1-4 0-0 3; Rachel Miller 1-2 0-0 2; Jenna Morgan 1-1 0-2 2; Ali Derr 0-4 0-0 0; Victoria Kowalski 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-58 9-15 49.
Halftime:?Messiah, 29-23. 3-point goals--Messiah 5-13 (Danel 2-6; Miller 1-3; Wisse 1-1; Nichols 1-2; Seamon 0-1), Lycoming 2-11 (Ziminski 1-3; Manges 1-5; Calella 0-1; Siebecker 0-2). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Messiah 36 (Vanderhoff 7; Nichols 7), Lycoming 30 (Antonelli 7). Assists--Messiah 10 (Danel 4), Lycoming 8 (Calella 3). Total fouls--Messiah 16, Lycoming 12. Technical fouls--None. A-205