by Tom Utescher
The Chestnut Hill College women won’t minding putting the 2012 portion of the basketball season behind them; last Wednesday they closed out the old calendar year at home with a conference loss that gave them an overall record of 1-9.
Coming out for the second period trailing by 13, the Griffins cut their deficit almost in half, but visiting Goldey Beacom College spread out the score once more to win the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference contest, 66-52. CHC slipped to 0-5 within the CACC, while the Goldey Beacom Lightning (from Wilmington, Del.) improved to 5-1 in conference play and 8-6 overall.
Few of the Griffins’ losses this year have been full-on routs. They tend to give up points in small spurts, then can’t quite come all the way back. Defensive stops at key junctures have also been lacking.
Immediately after Wednesday’s contest, second-year head coach Laura Pruitt dashed out the door to catch a flight home to her native County Galway in Ireland. While in transit to JFK Airport, she e-mailed some comments to the LOCAL.
“I think the things we need to make better are, thankfully, things that we have control over and can be worked out in practice,” she reflected. “I think offensively we need to execute a little better – the way we want to play is based purely on movement without the basketball. I have to do a better job as coach in maybe inserting a couple of set plays, so that when we get stagnant offensively we have something to go to.”
Workhorse forward Lindsay Alexander is the only senior starter, and with the youth of the team, Pruitt recalled “I knew coming into the season the first half of the season would be rough. We want to continue to give our young players confidence, which comes from repetition in practice.”
With both schools on holiday break, Wednesday’s game began at noon, and the Griffins stayed within single digits of the Lightning until about midway through the first half, when the tally was 16-8. Then, in a little over three minutes, the visitors expanded the gap to 14 points at 24-10. With a short jumper and two free throws by junior forward Annie Farrow and a three-pointer by sophomore guard Randi Jo Farrell, Chestnut Hill stopped its slide, but still trailed by 13 at the interval, 34-21.
The Griffins got going in round two with another little “J” by Farrow, along with a transition lay-up and three free throws from sophomore shooting guard Olivia Gorczynski. When Alexander scored a lay-up off of a pump fake under the basket, the hosts had the lead down to seven points (37-30) a little over three minutes into the new period.
In a familiar scenario, the Griffins were unable to muster the defensive effort they needed to hold onto those gains. Lightning guard Devonne Richardson rang up back-to-back field goals, and Goldey garnered three point from the foul line in a little 7-1 run.
A field goal by CHC sophomore Lila Jones tightened the score to 46-38 with 11 minutes left, but after an lay-up at the other end got the gap back up to 10 points, the Lightning led by double figures the rest of the way. The margin reached 17 points (61-44) with four minutes to play, then Alexander scored eight of her team-high 15 points as the Griffins outscored their guests 8-5 down the stretch.
Richardson chalked up a game-high 24 points for Goldey Beacom, which made 39 percent of its field goal attempts while CHC came in at 24 percent.
Nevertheless, Coach Pruitt ended on an upnote: “We are going to be just fine if we continue to believe in each other and compete every day in practice and in games.”