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Falcons Beat Up Bull Dogs In New Year Home Opener
Messiah's Dori Gyori scored 17 points and added 12 rebounds for the Falcons against Desales.

By Bryn Swartz, GoMessiah.com reporter
Grantham, PA - Playing their first home game in almost six weeks, the Falcons were as pumped as they could be for a non-conference game in early January. The sentiment certainly showed as they rolled over DeSales University 74-56 in front of a packed crowd in Brubaker Auditorium.

"The girls were really excited about being at home," said Messiah's head coach Mike Miller, whose team held the Bulldogs to 37% shooting (20-54). "They knew there was a special feeling about this game. It was great to be back in here."

The Falcons dominated the first half against DeSales, and trailed only by a score of 4-3. From there, they quickly scored seven in a row to take a 10-4 lead, and they never looked back throughout the first half.

By halftime, the Falcons held a commanding 37-22 lead, holding a high-powered offense that averages 66 points per game to just 22 points in the first half. DeSales shot just 9 of 27 (33 percent) in the first half.

"It was a great win," said Miller. "We played well and really shot well. The first 25 minutes of the game was as good as we've played all year. We ran our offense well and then made shots and then played well defensively. For them to have just 22 points at halftime was a great job on our part."

The Falcons scored the first 10 points of the second half, seven by free throws, which gave them 13 consecutive points (they had scored three in a row at the end of the first half). For the remainder of the second half, the Falcons used enough substitutions to get every player from their team onto the court, and ended with a 74-56 victory. This marked the Falcons' fifth straight victory and their seventh in the last eight games.

"(DeSales) is such a unique team," said Miller of the Bulldogs, who had an overtime win over Kean University to their credit this season. "They've won games scoring 80, and they've won games scoring 50. We just said that we need to do whatever it takes to win today. But them only scoring 22 in the first half is something I never would have expected."

Sophomore Taylor Miller topped Messiah in minutes (34) and points scored (18), connecting on 6 of 10 shots, including 3 of 5 on three pointers. Junior Dori Gyori posted a double-double, scoring 17 and grabbing 12 rebounds. Classmate Katlyn Vanderhoff scored 16 in just 21 minutes, plus six boards and two steals. Nicky Hess scored 10 and dished out five assists. On defense, Chelsea Danel (four) and Kira Maier (three) combined for seven steals, and Gyori blocked two shots.

The victory improved the Falcons to 10-3 on the season, including 4-1 at home. The Falcons' next game is at home, on January 11th, against Albright College at 6:00 p.m.