Falcons Score Early, Often To Run Away From Neumann
with Bryn Swartz, GoMessiah.com reporter
Playing for the first time in two weeks, the Falcons collected their most lopsided victory since a 77-38 blowout of John Jay College on November 18th.
"We were just great," said Messiah's head coach, Mike Miller. "We came out and started fast. We executed the defensive game plan that we had. The girls were really on key in today's game."
From the very beginning, the Falcons completely dominated. They took an 8-0 lead and held Neumann without any points for the first three-plus minutes. Neumann scored a basket to make it 8-2 but the Falcons continued adding to their lead. They scored the next nine points, including a three pointer by Taylor Miller, to take a 17-2 lead with 13:53 left in the half. The Falcons increased their lead to 27-6, in what was arguably their most dominant ten minutes of play this entire season.
The Falcons built their lead to 42-19 by halftime, and coasted to an easy 73-43 victory. Over the final 30 minutes of the game, the Falcons outscored Neumann 46-37 using substitutions that involved every player on the team.
No players on the Falcons played in more than 25 minutes, but 11 players participated in double-digit minutes, and everybody played in at least six. That's the advantage of having a squad that is as healthy as it has been all season, with no players inactive due to injuries.
Junior Dori Gyori topped the squad with 20 points in just 20 minutes of play. She connected on 8 of 10 shots and hit all four free throws. Classmate Kira Maier scored 14 points and grabbed five boards in 23 minutes of play. Katlyn Vanderhoff scored 10 points and grabbed seven boards, and Hannah Nichols contributed eight points off the bench.
On defense, the Falcons held Neumann to just 15 of 58 shooting (26 percent), including just 2 of 12 on three point shots. The Falcons won the rebounding battle, 49 to 34, and committed just 18 turnovers to Neumann's 22 turnovers.
"This game definitely matched one of our best defensive performances of the season," said Miller. "It was a real good game. There's no doubt about it."
Despite the Falcons' dominating victory, Miller said the team still needs to work on their offense. "Our offense is still a work in progress," he said. "We got a lot of our points off defensive stuff. We need to work on our transition offense and our half-court offense."
The victory was the third in a row for Messiah, which improved its record to 8-3 on the season. They will play Gettysburg College on Tuesday, January 3rd at 4:00 p.m. in the championship game of the Days Inn Tournament.