GREENVILLE, Pa. — On the heels of a frustrating overtime loss to Westminster earlier in the week, Thiel women’s basketball coach Artina Trader wasn’t sure how her young team would respond.
From the opening tip in Saturday’s game with Geneva College, it didn’t take the youthful Tomcats long to show the coach their response as they built up an early lead in a 74-60 win.
“We were able to put two halves together today and we haven’t been able to do what for a while,” said Trader. “Geneva is a great team and they work hard on every possession so you can’t relax with them. They penetrate so much and you can be sure they are going to come at you.”
The Tomcats got off to a fast start, scoring the first seven points of the game. Steadily building on their lead, the Tomcats led by as many as 13 (30-17) before Geneva cut the Thiel lead to nine points at halftime.
Leading the Titans to their lead midway through the game was Towanda-Michelle Warren with 10 points, four assists and three steals. For the game, the Tomcat freshman tied for game-high honors with 21 points, adding six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
“She has really been able to come along quickly for us,” said Trader of Warren. “She has been playing really well and that is good for us because it has taken a lot of the pressure off Amber [Bodrick]. Any way you look at it, it is a good 1-2 punch to have.”
One of the big factors in the Tomcats establishing themselves early in the game was a tough defense that held Geneva to just 37 percent shooting from the field.
“Our biggest thing coming into this game was to play good defense because Geneva spreads things out so well,” said Trader. “In their penetration game, we have to be able to move our feet and I was impressed with how well we were able play them. I don’t think we have beaten them since 1991 so that is huge for us as a confidence builder.”
Aly Miller hit a bucket 20 seconds into the second half for Geneva, but the Tomcats went on a scoring spree that netted them 12 unanswered points for a 45-26 lead.
The Golden Tornadoes answered with a 18-3 run to cut the deficit to just four points before Thiel (6-7) scored eight unanswered points to get its lead back to double digits with six minutes left.
“It was huge for us to answer after they made the run back at us,” Trader said. “In previous years, if that would have happened, we might have folded. But these young kids did what they had to do as we kept our composure and took care of the ball.”
Bodrick also scored 21 points while Kim Stitt (Hickory) added 11. Bodrick also finished with eight rebounds, four steals, three blocked shots and a steal.
For Geneva (7-6), Beth DeLuca scored 14 points and Rachel Barry added 12.