Lady Blazers stifled by intense defense, 66-42
NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM, Jan. 23 -
High-pressure defense by the Richard Montgomery Rockets (4-6) forced the Lady Blazers (3-7) to turn the ball over repeatedly and not get into an offensive rhythm, leading to a 66-42 loss on Wednesday night. The absence of junior point guard Jenny Williams, the team's leading scorer, was heavily felt.
The Rockets won the opening tip and scored quickly to start the game. Immediately after Blair inbounded the ball, the Rockets went into a half-court press defense, making it difficult for the Blazers to work the ball around on the offensive end.
The Rockets started the first quarter on a 7-0 run in which they managed to steal the ball four times from the Blazers. The hard-nosed defense by the Rockets only allowed the Blazers four points in the first quarter, giving Richard Montgomery a 19-4 lead.
The second quarter saw much of the same as the Rockets were able to extend their lead, continuing to force turnovers as well as draw fouls on the Blazers. RM capitalized at the free-throw line, going 5-for-7 in the quarter. But the Blazer offense was finally able to find some rhythm, scoring 16 points in the period. The half ended with the Rockets ahead, 36-20.
The third quarter resembled the first, as the Rockets increased their lead dramatically. Richard Montgomery got multiple steals that they converted into points off the fast break. The Rockets outscored the Blazers 17-8 to go into the fourth quarter ahead 53-28.
But despite the deficit, the Blazers played a remarkable fourth quarter. Freshman Sara McMillan, who had just recently been promoted from the junior varsity team, opened the quarter with two steals that led to four Blazer points. McMillan finished the game with an astounding eight steals to go along with four points.
According to senior co-captain Meghan Cadigan, the team finally came together in the final period. "We really only played one good quarter of basketball, and that was the fourth quarter," she said. "We cut down on the turnovers and played good defense ourselves." But the improved play was not enough, as the Blazers fell 66-42.
Both head coach Erin Conley and Cadigan found the same problem in the team's play. "We had 25 turnovers in the game and not nearly enough rebounds," Conley said. Cadigan too cited the sloppy ball-handling and lack of rebounding.
The majority of the Rockets' points came from the inside and from one player, junior Porcha Davis. "We had a huge problem matching up on their number 55 (Davis)," Conley said. Davis scored 33 points in the game and converted multiple three-point plays off of fouls on made layups.
Though the game resulted in a loss, Conley still sees potential for the team. "I don't think we played well [tonight]," she said. "This is a team we could have been more competitive with and I think in the fourth quarter we played to our potential."
The Blazers' next home game is Tuesday, Jan. 29 against Blake at 7 p.m.
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