STEUBENVILLE - The Franciscan University women's basketball team, despite improved defensive efforts and consistent efforts from the bench, fell 81-60 to Mount Aloysius College on Wednesday.
After senior forward Bernadette Roach secured a defensive rebound and put the Lady Barons up 2-0 with a midrange jump shot, Mount Aloysius embark upon a 19-7 run, in a first quarter characterized by its penetration of Franciscan's zone defense. The Lady Barons' offensive efforts were limited by a 30.8% field goal percentage, and eight untimely turnovers.
Down ten after the conclusion of the first quarter, the Lady Barons began the second with a pair of made free throws by sophomore guard Raegan Stead, fellow guard Sarah Schriner began to prove herself every bit the player she was before embarking on a semester in Austria. She put up 22 total points in 26 minutes; sophomore guard Gaby DeJesus, also back from Austria, displayed in-game dominance, with 12 points and a high shooting percentage in 35 minutes.
Head coach Suzy Delaney noted that despite the loss, the returners from Austria give the team a much-needed boost in performance. "We are working with our team chemistry, as we've added two players that came back from Austria."
After a halftime performance by the baton-twirling Clarice Orteza, Mount Aloysius extended its overall lead, with scoring runs of seven and nine points to open up a 19-point lead the Mounties would not relinquish. Nevertheless, improved looks from Schriner and consistent play from freshman guard Abby Baierl gave the game a competitive feel, despite the score.
The fourth quarter was the sharpest for the Lady Barons, both from inside the paint and from beyond the three-point arc. Franciscan put up 25 points to 27 registered by Mount Aloysius College, as defensive efforts for both teams appeared to break down toward the latter stages of the half.
"We just really have to work on shoring up our defense" said Delaney. "That has not been a consistent presence, especially in our last two games." While not the best day statistically, the Lady Barons played for perhaps the first time this season with a balanced offensive attack, behind the dominant rebounding force of the Roach sisters, confident drives to the basket from Roach, adept ball handling from Baierl and 3-point precision from Schriner and DeJesus.
With the loss, Delaney's team falls to 1-14, and 1-8 in AMCC action.
The Lady Barons hit the road for a conference tilt with Penn State Behrend on Saturday before returning home on Wednesday, January 25 to host La Roche at 6pm.