by Tom Utescher
With last Tuesday night’s victory over the visiting Wilmington Wildcats coming on the heels of a successful outing against Post University the previous weekend, the women’s basketball squad at Chestnut Hill College chalked up back-to-back wins for the first time since mid-November.
The Griffins had started out the season 2-0, but then fell into a 2-11 funk before their recent consecutive victories. Besting Wilmington last week, 66-55, Chestnut Hill improved to 4-6 within the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, and 6-11 overall.
“We’re seeing better decision-making in our offense; we’re being patient in order to get the best possible shots,” pointed out CHC coach Kiesha King. “We’re containing the driving lanes on defense and forcing people to shoot outside, and we’re trying to stop giving up easy points by keeping the other team off the foul line.”
Going into the holiday break, sophomore Lindsay Alexander was the leading scorer and rebounder for CHC, and if opponents could contain her to any extent, the Griffins often found themselves in trouble. Lately other players have stepped up to make Chestnut Hill a more balanced ballclub.
Against Wilmington, Ashlen Stayrook netted a game-high 19 points and another junior forward, Ebony Washington, scored 12 points and led all rebounders, with 10.
“Both of them have definitely been more confident recently, and they’re stepping out on the court and showing their abilities,” noted Coach King.
Their efforts have been balanced by some solid performances in the backcourt from the likes of junior Kamia Smith, who had 11 points, four rebounds, and four assists against the Wildcats.
King explained, “Asha Jones being back [from injury] definitely gives us a lift. She’s a very gritty, tough, quick guard to go along with Kamia, who’s more of a distributing guard. We’re still learning to play with one another, but we’re developing some chemistry now, and I expect us to keep moving forward.”
Jones, a sophomore, recorded eight points, six rebounds, and four assists in last Tuesday’s victory.
The teams fought to a 26-26 draw in the first half, and the leading scorers – Washington for CHC and Ashley Davision for the Wildcats – each had 10 points. In the second period, the Griffins got out of the gate with a 9-0 run that included field goals by Stayrook, Alexander (seven points, four rebounds total) and senior center Cecilia Herald (five points, four rebounds) and a three-pointer by Smith.
The Wildcats stayed close behind for quite a while, narrowing the gap to two points with just under six minutes to go, but from there the Griffins expanded their lead into double digits, allowing the home crowd to relax a bit as the teams came down the stretch.
Chestnut Hill’s Stayrook and Smith had gone from a combined total of seven points in the first half to 23 in the second. Davison finished with a team-high 15 points for Wilmington.