Down by one at the half, the Wolverines used strong defense to top Thiel.
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- When Grove City visited Beeghly Gymnasium Wednesday night for the second-half meeting with Thiel, both teams were coming off big victories.
The Wolverines had just beaten Washington & amp; Jefferson, while the Tomcats were coming off a victory against Waynesburg.
However, that is where the similarities between the two teams ended as the Wolverines (15-8, 7-2) pulled away from the Tomcats (6-18, 2-7) in the second half for a 79-67 victory in President's Athletic Conference action.
The first half was about as close as it could have been as the game saw three ties and as many lead changes.
"I think it [Thiel's improved play] is that the girls have committed to being a lot more patient," said Tomcat coach Artina Trader. "Before, when we got the ball they thought they had to score right away. We have also tried to get away for set plays all the time and let the natural abilities take over.
"When they do that, I think they are realizing they can compete with the Grove City's, the Westminster's and W & amp;J's. That makes them a little hungrier than they were before and that is what the first half was all about."
Close first half
Grove City's biggest lead of the half was a mere two points, while the Tomcats led by as many as seven with five minutes remaining before the Tomcats took a 35-34 lead to the dressing room at halftime.
"We aren't normally a pressing team, but we wanted to try it tonight and although it forced a lot of turnovers, it sort of took us out of our offense," said GCC coach Melissa Lamie. "Our biggest problem was that we just gave up too many open shots in the first half and they were killing us."
Leading by one entering the second half, the Tomcats again gave themselves a little space with a 7-0 run to open up a 42-34 lead.
However, from that point on, it was all Grove City as the Wolverines used runs of 7-0 and 9-0 to open a 56-48 lead midway through the period and they never trailed again.
"I guess I felt a little better about our halfcourt defense in the second half," Lamie said. "We let that create some opportunities for us rather than depending on the press. They weren't getting the wide open shots they got in the first half and that made it tougher for them to score."
As for what happened to the Tomcats in the second half, Trader agreed with Lamie. It was all about the Grove City defense.
"Grove City probably plays the best defense of anybody in the league, hands down, and we let that get to us a little bit," said Trader. "Instead of being patient like we were in the first half, we were too quick to shoot the ball which caused us to have too many one-and-outs."
Abby Moose lead the Wolverines with a game-high 20 points. Jocelyn Kempema scored 16 points and Rachel Romance had 13.
Fontella Jones (Farrell) and Kristen Benjamin each scored 15 points for Thiel. Heather Abate scored 14.