Even after a huge win that knocked Lebanon Valley from first place in the MAC Commonwealth on Wednesday, the Lycoming women's basketball team knew that its battle for the fifth and final spot in the Commonwealth Conference playoffs was far from over.
In a three-way tie with Widener and Albright, the only way Lycoming can positively secure its second consecutive trip to the Commonwealth tournament is by winning out over its last three games.
On Saturday, the Warriors showed that they are up to the challenge, as they topped Arcadia 70-56 in a great team effort that saw 11 different players make scoring contributions.
With several starters getting into early foul trouble, it didn't take long for Lycoming to look for help from its bench. Luckily for the Warrirors, their bench was more than willing, and when the teams entered their locker rooms at half, they had accounted for 22 of Lycomng's 33 points and a 12-point lead.
"They were the difference-makers in the game," Lycoming head coach Christen Ditzler said. They did a great job, and came in and scored some huge buckets. I was really pleased with them."
The bench player who had the biggest impact for Lycoming on the floor was sophomore Forward Chelsea Henderson, who earned a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while adding two steals and a blocked shot. It was the type of performance the Warriors needed out of Henderson, especially with forward Julia Antonelli, the team's usual go-to scorer, sitting out for the majority of the first half.
"Chelsea makes things happen in there," Ditzler said. "She is always around the ball and does a little bit of everything."
Ali Derr also played a good game for Lycoming, which has become the norm this season. She shot 6 of 11 on field goals for a team-high 13 points, while adding seven defensive rebounds, and two assists.
Ditzler felt that the Knights probably made a mistake in allowing Derr to take mid-range shots from around the free-throw line.
"That's her favorite shot," she said. "We will take that anytime of the day."
Overall, the game was one of Lycoming's best shooting performances over recent weeks, as they went 50 percent from the field and 13-for-18 at the line. They even saw a 15-percent increase on their shooting accuracy from the first to the second half, which was a promising sign for Ditzler, who has been hounding her team to wait for better shot opportunities on the floor.
"We talk about controlling tempo all of the time, and one of the ways to do that is to take good shots," she said. "If you take good shots, that does a lot for you. It stops the other team from getting into transition, and it puts you in good rebounding position. I think that helped us, and we had some wide-open shots in some places where we can really hit."
The Warriors also enjoyed a good defensive performance, especially in the game's firs half, where the Knights were only able to hit 7 of 28 field goals. Albright only saw two players score more than seven points, and were led in scoring by sophomore Samantha Caligiuri, who had 19.
Now with plenty of momentum, the Warriors will head to Albright on Tuesday night, where they will have an opportunity to drop the Lions out of playoff contention with a win.
ARCADIA (10-13, 4-12 CC)
Samantha Caligiuri 6-14 6-9 19; Valerie DiMuro 5-9 0-1 10; Maureen Fiocca 3-6 1-2 7; Rachel Jacob 2-6 2-2 6; Victoria Mazzeo 1-5 3-8 5; Mary Badeen 2-9 0-2 5; Amanda Buirch 2-3 0-0 4; Imani Alston 0-0 0-0 0; Michaela Holleran 0-1 0-0 0; Dominique Hassinger 0-4 0-1 0. Totals 21-57 12-25 56.
LYCOMING (11-11, 8-8 CC)
Ali Derr 6-11 1-2 13; Olivia Manges 2-3 4-6 10; Chelsea Henderson 3-9 4-6 10; Julia Antonelli 3-6 2-2 8; Rachel Miller 3-5 0-0 6; Victoria Kowalski 2-3 0-0 5; Janelle Ziminski 2-5 0-0 4; Nicole Calella 1-3 2-2 4; Rachel Duncan 2-2 0-0 4; Victoria Siebecker 2-5 0-0 4; Jenna Morgan 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 27-54 13-18 70.
Halftime: Lycoming, 33-21. 3-point goals--Arcadia 2-13 (Caligiuri 1-4; Badeen 1-5; Buirch 0-1; Holleran 0-1; Hassinger 0-2), Lycoming 3-10 (Manges 2-3; Kowalski 1-2; Miller 0-1; Ziminski 0-2; Siebecker 0-2). Fouled out--Derr; Ziminski. Rebounds--Arcadia 38 (Mazzeo 13), Lycoming 37 (Henderson 10). Assists--Arcadia 10 (Mazzeo 5), Lycoming 17 (Calella 7). Total fouls--Arcadia 18, Lycoming 25. Technical fouls-None. A-265