The numbers jump off the stats page in reviewing the Patriots 71-54 win over the #16 Bethel University Wildcats who visited St. Catharine Monday. Janae Howard with a huge game of 40 points and 12 rebounds. Reilly Poirier with 17 points and 13 boards. But head coach Lena Bramblett says there is much more underlying the victory.
“It was a great win for us in a lot of respects,” said Bramblett whose team improved to 18-7. “Yes, we had 22 turnovers but we showed heart and what we are capable of doing when we put our minds to it. And, while the stats were big for two players, it was definitely a team effort.”
That team effort, Bramblett added, came from Rianne Hofstraat who corralled the Wildcats’ talented guard Alisha Gentry who had only four second half points after scoring 10 in the opening period. And from Stacie Shrout and Carol Ruiz-Lopez who gave point guard Machera Calhoun help at the point guard position.
“That is big to hold a team like that to 18 points in the second half,” Bramblett said. “I just can’t say enough about the effort our entire team gave.”
That effort looked like it might not result in a win as the Patriots trailed 36-30 late in the first half. But a big momentum boost came at the buzzer when Howard drilled a trey from deep in the corner to cut the deficit to three points at the break.
In the second half neither team led by more than four points until late in the game. St. Catharine then went on a 13-2 run that turned a four point advantage into a 65-50 lead with 2:53 to play. Alexiss Griffin started that run with a 3-point goal and Howard added the next five points.
Howard’s big game came from 15-26 shooting from the field which included 5-8 from long range. Poirier was 7-14 from the field as the Patriots shot 43.5 percent from the field but a sparkling 47 percent from behind the arc.
Bethel (18-7), who also lost to the Patriots in the first week of the season, shot 33 percent from the field and was 40 percent on 3-point attempts. They were outrebounded by the Patriots 44-30. The Wildcats were 10-10 from the foul line while the Patriots were 9-15.