Lyco women tie school record for conference wins in a single season

CHRIS DOWNS/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Lewisburg grad Akilah McFadden shoots for Lycoming against Hood during a game on Saturday.

Cohesiveness breeds confidence, and as the Lycoming women’s basketball team can attest following its impressive 76-40 rout of Hood Saturday afternoon on Dutch Burch Court at Lamade Gymnasium, it’s a good feeling when playing your game is more important than the opponent you’re playing.

“The loss to Messiah hurt us, and that game was behind us, but at the same time I was concerned about how we would come off of that loss,” said Lycoming’s veteran coach Christen Ditzler. “I didn’t think it was going to matter who we played in our next game. We had to focus on the job at hand to get back to where we want to be.”

Heading into the final week of the regular season, Lycoming (17-7, 11-4 MAC Commonwealth) was looking to shore up its playoff position in the Middle Atlantic Conference tournament by tying a school record for league wins in a season. The Warriors currently hold down the second playoff position for the upcoming conference tournament, but as seniors Jenn Grove and Becca Painter will tell you, a lot can still happen in week.

“We feel really good how we played today,” said 5-foot-9 forward Grove. “This is our court and we had defend it, and to play our game. We needed our offense and defense to work together and that is what we did against Hood.”

“We don’t need to worry about the other teams, we need to focus on us and do what we do best,” Painter added. “It is our style to run, and play defense … to play Lycoming Warriors basketball.”

From the opening tip, the Warriors leaned on the Blazers (6-17 overall, 2-12 MAC Commonwealth). Despite points coming slowly, it was evident that the Warriors were intent on pushing the tempo with the ball and stifle Hood’s offense. Lycoming’s defense was so stout it forced three shot-clock violations in the first half.

“We needed to run and play faster,” Ditzler said. “I told the team after this game I was happy to see us score 75 points. We had not scored that much in a while, and I was a little nervous that our offense production was not where it needed to be going into playoffs.”

Lycoming junior Akilah McFadden — a graduate of Lewisburg — scored five of her seven points on consecutive possessions, hitting a 3-pointer and converting a steal into a layup with 4:12 left in the first quarter. The five-point swing, followed by a tally from Kayla Kline (game-high 18 points) and a Painter bucket, gave the Warriors a 17-9 lead after 10 minutes.

“We’ve been picking each other up, and its all of us working together,” Grove said. “As seniors, (coach) expects a lot of me, Becca, and Shelby (Schoonover). It’s up to us to pull everyone together.”

From the second quarter on, Painter (13 points, six assists) said the message to her teammates was clear: “Don’t let up and play our game. We wanted to go fast and play hard no matter what.”

Erica Lutz buried a short jump shot at the 8:12 mark of the second quarter to give Lycoming a 19-9 lead. Lutz (eight points, 11 rebounds) followed with a layup, which yielded a Hood College timeout. When play resumed, so did the Warriors offensive surge, extending the lead to 31-11 with 2:43 to play, as Kline scored off of the fast break.

“We are seeing good recognition on offense and moving without the ball,” Ditzler said. “We did better with shot selection, but is difficult at times for players to understand. We are getting there though.”

By the half, Lycoming was in control, 35-18, holding the Blazers to a pair of nine-point quarters.

“We want to stay healthy and be us,” Painter said, looking at the last week of the regular season. “We can’t get caught up in what other teams are doing. Coach keeps saying, ‘Play our game,’ and we’ll keeping doing that.”

The second half brought more of the same from the Warriors’ offense. Painter dropped in a 3-pointer for a 42-20 lead early in the period and another five minutes later, which upped the Lycoming advantage to 50-24.

Lycoming 76, Hood 40

HOOD (6-17, 3-11 MACC)

Mia Savoy 4-15 0-0 9; Maya Goree 2-6 2-3 7; Laura Vetter 2-5 2-2 6; Lauren Keeney 2-8 0-0 5; Ebony Pitt 2-7 0-0 4; Tamiya Ford 1-6 2-2 4; Bridget Smith 1-6 0-0 3; Maggie Tien 0-6 2-2 2; Morgan Anderson 0-5 0-0 0; Celestria Hill 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-65 8-9 40.

LYCOMING (17-7, 11-4 MACC)

Kayla Kline 7-14 4-4 18; Becca Painter 4-11 2-2 13; Jenn Grove 5-7 0-0 10; Erica Lutz 4-7 0-2 8; Akilah McFadden 3-9 0-0 7; Alex Jones 1-2 3-4 6; Shelby Schoonover 2-2 0-0 6; Allison Wagner 1-1 4-4 6; Courtney Treude 0-1 1-2 1; Megan Helminiak 0-0 1-2 1; Ryanna Lamoreaux 0-0 0-0 0; Kelly Vuz 0-1 0-0 0; Sydney Purcell 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-57 15-20 76.

Hood 9 9 8 14–40

Lycoming 17 18 24 17–76

3-point goals: Hood 4-19 (Goree 1-4; Smith 1-4; Savoy 1-5; Keeney 1-3; Tien 0-3), Lycoming 7-17 (Painter 3-6; Schoonover 2-2; McFadden 1-4; Jones 1-1; Treude 0-1; Vuz 0-1; Purcell 0-1; Kline 0-1). Fouled out: Hood-Ford, Lycoming-none. Rebounds: Hood 37 (Vetter 5; Ford 5; Smith 5), Lycoming 48 (Lutz 11). Assists: Hood 6 (Pitt 4), Lycoming 20 (Painter 6). Total fouls: Hood 11, Lycoming 13. Technical fouls–Hood-none, Lycoming-none. A: 203.