The Goshen College women’s basketball team opened their 2016-17 season with a pair of road games, first at Holy Cross College last Friday, then at Aquinas College on Tuesday evening.
A game, and career-high 15 points from Sydney Stein, led the Goshen College women’s basketball team to a 65-57 victory over Holy Cross Friday night in Notre Dame, Indiana.
Angela McLean grabbed 10 boards while Lynnia Noel and Sophia Sears each scored 12 points for Goshen, which led its season opener by 15 points.
The teams combined for 89 rebounds, including 37 on the offensive glass. Goshen was hampered by a 2-of-14 mark from three-point range, but forced 17 Holy Cross turnovers and held the hosts to 33 percent shooting from the floor. The Maple Leafs themselves shot 41 percent, Sears leading Goshen with three steals.
“I was very proud of Angela and Hanna tonight for stepping up and handling their business in the paint,” said Goshen head coach Stephanie Miller. “I was also very happy with the combined efforts of Sydney & Calla in the 4-spot tonight. Both came in a bit untested in their roles, and the combined 24 points and solid defense was a real key for us tonight.
“It feels good to go on the road and get our first win,” Miller said. “First games can be sloppy and chaotic and are almost always an adventure. I feel good about the effort and the mental approach of our team tonight. We’ve dealt with a few tricky obstacles this preseason and I feel like the girls dug in, made no excuses, and found a way to just grind out a road win. A positive start to finding our new identity.”
While Goshen did not trail by more than four, its first double digit lead didn’t come until the fourth quarter. The Maple Leafs led by 15 before going on a scoring drought of 2:27 to finish the fourth quarter up eight points.
As for Tuesday night it was senior Sears who tallied a career-high 25 points for the Maple Leafs, however it was Aquinas College who came away with the 78-67 win.
Aquinas came out ready to play against the 11th-ranked Maple Leafs, using an up-tempo transition offense to jump out to a 19-16 lead heading into the first break. Sears paced Goshen with five points in the first stanza while McKenzie Breimayer led the Saints with six of her 19 points for the game.
The Maple Leafs (1-1) picked up the intensity out of the first break, using variations of full-court pressure to disrupt the Aquinas offense and outscore the Saints 22-17, taking a 38-36 lead into halftime. Again Sears led Goshen with 11 points, followed by junior transfer Caitlyn O’Neal’s eight points.
The second half saw much of the same game plans from both sides, however Aquinas was able to get the Maple Leafs in foul trouble early and used a 9-of-14 mark from the free throw line to finish the third, down only one at 55-54.
Goshen was unable to maintain the lead, as shooting woes plagued the Maple Leafs down the stretch. Sears had three of the team’s six field goals in the final 10 minutes, and the team went 0-of-4 from the charity stripe after going 4-of-4 through the first 30 minutes. Aquinas would double the Maple Leafs 24-12 in the fourth en route to the 78-67 victory.