LHU women top Mansfield again, but in closer game

MANSFIELD When Mansfield and Lock Haven met back in November, the Lady Eagles blew past the Lady Mountaineers in the second half for a 38-point victory.

In the rematch Saturday evening at Decker Gymnasium, LHU again came out on top, but it was a much different ball game as the Lady Eagles had to come from behind in the final minutes for a 75-69 win.

“When we played them the first time, we had four players, including two starters who weren’t available today,” said LHU head coach Jennifer Smith. “We couldn’t play our full court, man-to-man defense because we didn’t have the bodies to do it. I think that was the big difference, but really, we didn’t come to play today. Things weren’t going our way and we had to continue to fight and somehow we were able to pull it out.”

Mansfield head coach Allison Tagliaferri felt that part of her team’s problems was operating with a new system.

“In the first game, we were running a completely new system,” said Tagliaferri. “Lock Haven is a good team and you can’t take that away from them. They have a lot of very talented athletes, they play in a tough league (PSAC-West) and let’s face it, even in the first game, we kind of beat ourselves and I think we did the same thing today.”

Regardless of the disappointing outcome, Tagliaferri felt there were a lot of positives.

“There are a lot of things we can take from the two games this weekend,” she said. “We played hard all weekend. We didn’t give up and we fought to the end. We just have to overcome some of the little mistakes we are making.”

The Lady Eagles took a quick 5-2 lead on a trey by J. J. Hilliard and a deuce by Kelsey Ryan. But just that quickly, Mansfield manufactured a 7-0 run to go up 9-5 before Hilliard stopped the bleeding with a long-range two-pointer.

Mansfield built up a 6-point lead six minutes into the game, but the Lady Eagles scrapped back to regain the lead at 15-14 two minutes later on a layup by Alex Brehony.

During the next three minutes, there was one tie and three lead changes until Mansfield ran off its second 7-0 run of the game to go on top 23-17 with eight minutes left.

For the final eight minutes of the opening period, the two teams took turns exchanging blows with each other until the Lady Mountaineers took a 39-37 lead to the locker room at the break.

Leading by just a pair at halftime, the Lady Mounties came storming out of the locker room to begin the second period as they promptly ripped off a 12-0 run to open up a double-digit lead (51-37).

Not to run away and hide, LHU answered the Mansfield run with 12 unanswered points to cut the MU lead to just a pair (51-49).

For the final 11 minutes of the game, neither team led by more than five points until LHU closed out the game on an 11-1 run to set the final.

In the win, LHU showed excellent balance in the scorebook with five players hitting for double digits.

J. J. Hilliard took team honors with 15 points, Kelsey Ryan finishing a digit behind Hilliard with 14. Sami Lane scored 12 and Marrysa Moyer and Adrianna Berry finished with 10 apiece.

“We didn’t really have a go-to player on the court so we needed the balanced scoring,” said Smith. “It is just a good thing that people stepped up and did the job because we needed it.”

In leading the Lady Eagles to the win, Hilliard recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds to go along with her 15 points. When she wasn’t scoring, Hilliard dished out a half dozen assists to give her career highs in both assists and rebounds while recording her first career double-double.

For Mansfield, Katie Fitzpatrick led all scorers with 20 points, Shaleta Heyward coming off the bench to finish with 16 points. Jena Matter completed the Mansfield trio in double figures with 10 points. Matter adding 10 rebounds to her scoring for her second double-double in as many nights.

“Katie is an outstanding freshman,” said Tagliaferri. “She is going to have an outstanding career here and a lot of her defensive spark and her offense is what kept us in the game. But again, what we need to do is take over the mental aspect of the game and that will come.”

LOCK HAVEN (5-8 (2-7 PSAC))

HILLIARD, J.J. 5-12 3-4 15; RYAN, Kelsey 6-12 1-1 14; LANE, Sami 3-7 6-9 12; MOYER, Marrysa 3-12 3-6 10; BERRY, Adrianna 5-5 0-0 10; GILDEA, Hannah 2-8 2-2 7; HERSHEY, Kacie 1-2 2-2 4; BREHONY, Alex 1-1 1-2 3; BAIR, Kristi 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-59 18-26 75.

MANSFIELD (4-9 (2-7 PSAC))

FITZPATRICK, Katie 8-19 3-3 20; HEYWARD, Shaleta 6-12 0-1 16; MATTER, Jena 5-10 4-7 14; MCSWAIN, Megan 1-4 4-5 6; STEVENSON, Julia 1-5 3-5 5; YALE, Katie 1-2 2-2 4; DERICHIE, Alyssa 2-5 0-0 4; LACEY, Victoria 0-1 0-0 0; LACEY, Emma 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 24-61 16-23 69.

Halftime: Mansfield, 39-37. 3-point goals–Lock Haven 5-15 (HILLIARD, 2-3; MOYER, 1-6; GILDEA, 1-4; RYAN, 1-2), Mansfield 5-20 (HEYWARD, 4-7; FITZPATRICK, 1-7; MCSWAIN, 0-2; DERICHIE, 0-2; VLACEY, 0-1; ELACEY, 0-1). Fouled out-Hershey, Stevenson. Rebounds–Lock Haven 44 (HILLIARD, 11), Mansfield 36 (MATTER, 10). Assists–Lock Haven 14 (HILLIARD, 6), Mansfield 16 (MATTER, 5). Total fouls–Lock Haven 20, Mansfield 25. Technical fouls–None. A-184