Allegheny held off repeated Ohio Wesleyan runs at the lead, but other than an early 2-0 lead on sophomore post Tamra Londot’s baseline jumper 22 seconds into the game, Stacey Ungashick Reed’s Battling Bishops never regained the advantage in a 60-45 North Coast Athletic Conference loss to the visiting Gators Saturday afternoon at Branch Rickey Arena.
Ohio Wesleyan (2-5, 0-1 NCAC) pulled even with the Gators at 30-30 on Londot’s layin just over two minutes into the second half, but Allegheny (6-2, 2-0 NCAC) answered by outscoring the Bishops 19-8 over the next 12 minutes to open up an 11-point, 49-38 lead with 5:53 to play.
“I thought we had great practices getting ready for this game and, for the most part, what we worked on we able to introduce it into our game plan against a good Allegheny team,” Ungashick Reed said. “I think that shows that our younger players are adapting to the program.”
Shooting would prove to be Ohio Wesleyan’s undoing. The Bishops shot a chilly 25 percent (16-for-64) for the game , including halves of 27.6 percent (8-for-29) and 22.9 percent (8-for-35).
“For the most part we were playing good defense, especially early on, but we could not make a basket,” Ungashick Reed said. “We were getting good looks, but could not hit the shot … scoring 24 points or less in a half is not going to get it done.”
Meanwhile, the Gators, after a 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) opening half, came back out to shoot 45.8 percent (11-for-24) in the second half behind performances of 6-0 junior forward Heidi Caller, 5-8 junior forward Daryl Ford 5-9 and sophomore guard Erica Restich to keep the Bishops at arms-length.
The trio of Restich, Goeller and Ford combined to score 27 of Allegheny’s 32 second-half points, setting the Gators up for a game-closing 11-7 run capped by Ford’s 3-point play with 52 seconds to play. Restich paced Allegheny with 18 points, including 11 in the second half, followed by Goeller with 14 and Ford with 13 points.
Allegheny claimed a slim 43-39 edge off the glass, led by Ford’s game-high 11 and Restich with 10. The Gators turned the ball over 24 times against the Ohio Wesleyan press. The Bishops committed 19 turnovers.
LaNiece McRae, a 5-11 freshman post came off the bench to lead Ohio Wesleyan with 12 points and 7 rebounds, the lone Bishop to score in double figures. Junior guard Kandis Walker followed with 9 points, 3 assists and 7 steals while Sarah McQuade, joining Walker with three assists, and Landot added 6 points apiece. Freshman Caroline Welker matched McRae with 7 boards.
“With a young team. At one point we had four freshmen and one sophomore on the floor, so it’s going to take hard work and patience on our part,” Ungashick Reed said. “The talent is there … we just need to stay focused and work harder to meet our expectations.”
Ohio Wesleyan continues to lead the all-time series, holding a 33-30 edge following Saturday’s meeting.
The Battling Bishops remain home Wednesday, entertaining NCAC rival Denison at 6 p.m. at Branch Rickey Arena.