Hawks don't survive fourth quarter Mountaineers run
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore was ready to celebrate the return to the court of junior guard Ciani Byrom (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) from injury on Tuesday night at home, but Mount St. Mary’s had other ideas.
The Mountaineers (3-8) outscored the Hawks 24-14 in the fourth quarter on their way to a 66-63 come-from-behind victory.
“We never made the plays that we needed to in order to separate and I thought we were undisciplined on defense going after balls we didn’t have a chance to get and allowing open shots and then fouling in some situations because we were overextending ourselves," Hawks head coach Fred Batchelor said. “We wanted to play aggressive, but we weren’t as disciplined as I thought we needed to be.”
Byrom scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half including 8-of-9 from the free throw line. She played 21 minutes total, picked up a pair of assists and had three of her four turnovers in a six-minute stretch of the first quarter while she worked to shake off the rust of missing 26 games due to injury.
“She changes the game a little bit,” Batchelor said. “She came in and had a few mishaps with a couple turnovers, but I thought she gave us what we needed to try and win the basketball game. We just didn’t get enough solid play.”
On the defensive end, the Hawks did a good job of containing point guard Ashlee White for most of the game. But she managed to get to the basket for a layup twice in the final two minutes when it mattered most.
While White struggled to find space for much of the contest finishing with just nine points, others stepped up.
Freshman Daly Sullivan was especially tough on the Hawks scoring 20 of her 23 points in the second half as the Hawks didn’t seem to be able to find an answer to her outside shot. She was 8-of-19 from the field including 6-of-13 from behind the arc.
“We had a game plan on her and that was take away the 3-point shots,” Batchelor said. “But I thought she did a good job of moving without the basketball and utilizing the overplay to create space to get her shot off and that was where we weren’t smart in our play. We overextended ourselves on passes that we couldn’t get to and then when she caught it we couldn’t defend her.”
With just eight second left and Eastern Shore trialing 66-63, Batchelor called timeout to set up a play and subbed in senior Alexus Hicks (Raleigh, North Carolina) and freshman Amanda Carney (Parlin, New Jersey) as well as senior Tori Morris (Herndon, Virginia).
The ball ended up in Carney’s hands and she pump faked and drew contact, but no whistle as her shot was well short.
“We really weren’t trying to get it to Amanda,” Batchelor said. “She was a decoy and we wanted the ball to end up on the other side to Hicks coming off the double when her girls went to help on Amanda.
While there were some key moments late, Batchelor knows that his team should have taken control of the game earlier, but rather let The Mount hang close enough that the fourth-quarter run brought them back.
“There were times in the game where we were up six and we should have been up 11,” Batchelor said. “We were up seven points with 3 minutes to go in the first half and we missed a layup and four free throws and we ended up being up five at the half. You have to have good play in those situations because those are the situations that come back and hurt you. I thought that was what happened tonight. They got a little momentum and hit some shots, they weren’t tired and I thought their ability to get to the basket and draw fouls was huge.”
Bairesha Gill-Miles (Lexington, Kentucky) finished with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists and Martha Thompson (Bedford Heights, Ohio) added 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.
The team is in action again on Thursday when they face University of Maryland Baltimore County at 6 p.m.
“I haven’t given much thought at all to UMBC,” Batchelor said. “My staff has. I have been solely preparing for this one. This was a very important game for us. We do not have a Division I win yet and this is late. It’s almost January and we’re about to go home for a little Christmas break. To not have a Division I win yet regardless of how tough our schedule is — this was one we weren’t supposed to let get away.
“Especially at home.”
For more information on Eastern Shore Athletics visit http://www.easternshorehawks.com/.
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