Thiel women get first PAC win
The Tomcats returned home to defeat Grove City.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- After opening the conference with a pair of losses away from home, the Thiel Tomcats were hoping for better results in familiar territory.
On the heels of losses to Waynesburg and Bethany by a combined four points, the Tomcats returned home to Rissell-Beeghly Gymnasia Wednesday and came away with their first PAC win of the season over Grove City, 61-56.
"I think the difference in this game was that we played defense for the entire 40 minutes," said Thiel coach Artina Trader. "In the two games we lost by a total of four points, we played a half of defense in each game. Two halves will get you a win, one won't."
The Tomcats, on the strength of 11 points from Amber Bodrick, steadily pulled away to lead by as many as nine (22-13) with seven minutes left in the opening period.
Grove City battles back
The Wolverines (3-10, 1-2) clawed their way back with five free throws by Brittany Anderson and a pair of 3s by Shannon Overdorf, to trail by just two points at halftime.
"I felt like coming out of halftime, we had the momentum," said Grove City coach Sarah Harris. "I am extremely happy with the way we battled back after starting out really flat, but I am not pleased at all with how we finished the game and has been a consistent problem for us.
Facing the two-point deficit, the Wolverines continued scoring to begin the second half as they put the first nine points of the half on the board to take a 33-26 lead before Nicole Valentino stopped the run with a trey.
Still trailing by seven, the Tomcats (5-7, 1-2) went on a 10-0 run to regain the lead, 41-38, before the two teams found themselves deadlocked at 43-all with nine minutes left.
"Basically, they weren't talking and communicating with each other," said Trader. "Nine times when we come to play a game, we are going to be undersized so we have to play hard and with a lot of heart if we are going to win."
From there, the game was about as tight as it could have been until the Tomcats went on a 10-2 run to secure the win.
Leading the victory
Leading the Tomcats in the game-winning stretch were Bodrick and Nicole Valentino as the duo combined for 11 of Thiel's final 13 points.
"You get tired, but you just have to push yourself when that happens," said Valentino. "If you keep working hard, good things will happen and tonight I was able to pick it up when we needed it. I was able to hit a couple of 3s down the stretch and when that happens, it picks everybody else up."
Bodrick (Mooney) finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds, three blocked shots and five steals, while Valentino added 17 points and nine boards.
"Everybody expects me to score, but Coach has been stressing to me all season long to pick it up on defense and tonight I did," said Bodrick. "At times, making the transition from offense to defense can be a problem for me, but coach keeps telling me that if I work hard on it in practice, it will carry over to the game."
McCoy gets double-double
Grove City's Rachel McCoy had a big night with 15 rebounds, 12 points and seven blocked shots. The seven blocks tied a school record.
"It was just one of those games where we couldn't score inside because they were on our guards like crazy," said McCoy. "That [losing the lead late] has happened to us about five or six times this year. We don't know what it takes to finish a game and that might be due to us having a lot of young players on the team."