Defense wins games

By Adam Duke

Sports Reporter

Last Thursday, the Griffs traveled to the 518 for a matchup with the Siena Saints. Though they kept the score tight in the first quarter, the Griffs were overpowered by the Saints in the following two quarters, 8-18 and 11-22. With a season-high 29 turnovers, the Griffs were unable to respond to the Saints’ high tally. They fell by a score of 42-67, with the 25-point deficit being the second highest of the season, and the only larger deficit from the game against the twelfth ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

“Obviously, we struggled with their pressure. We turned it over way too many times, we got back on our heels and like any team that presses. They were just thriving on that and scoring baskets left and right,” said head coach Terry Zeh. “We need to do a much better job of taking care of the basketball, for sure.”

On Saturday, the Griffs took on the Marist Red Foxes, where they fell again, 60-67. In the loss, senior Lauren D’Hont scored 19 points and sophomore Sara Hinriksdottir contributed 11. Hinriksdottir also led in rebounds, grabbing nine off the boards, and Tamara Miskovic was the team’s assist leader with six.

“I thought Lauren had a good game for us that kept us in there against Marist. If she didn’t play so well, we probably would’ve been blown out that game,” said Zeh.

Hinriksdottir said that in order to succeed throughout the rest of the season, they must set screens and play as a team to work to score.

The Griffs had leads at the end of the first quarter and at halftime, but late in the third quarter, the Red Foxes rallied and went ahead, ultimately pulling off the victory.

“We just weren’t defensively where we needed to be in positions, and offensively very stagnant against Marist. I didn’t think we played a whole heck of alot better, even though the game was closer, just a different kind of game,” Zeh said. “We let their shooters get to shots that they shouldn’t have been able to get to.”

Last night, the Griffs made their return to the Koessler Athletic Center for a matchup with the Manhattan Jaspers.

The first time the Griffs met with the Jaspers this season, they were successful, prevailing 62-57. Hinriksdottir was the frontrunner, with 20 points and seven rebounds. D’Hont and junior Margret Hafdanardottir each contributed 12 points to the Griffs’ tally.

Last night, the Griffs overthrew the Jaspers in a defensive battle by a score of 58-48.In a game the Griffs dominated, the team put up 58 points, with Sarah Hinriksdottir once again leading, recording 20 points.

Before the game, Hafdanardottir commented on how the team was ready to play defense. As a unit, the Griffs grabbed 26 rebounds and had 4 blocks and 4 steals throughout the contest, proving her statement to be true.

At the end of the first quarter, Coach Zeh’s crew was in the lead, 11-8. The Jaspers battled back in the second, taking a lead, but strong play by Maria Welch near the end of the half allowed the Griffs to cruise into halftime with the lead, 26-19.

“At halftime, we were really hype,” said Welch. “Usually at the half, we talk about what we need to improve, but when we first got in there, we were all hype- clapping and stuff.”

Zeh was pleased with the team’s play near the half, noting that they went on a 9-0 run to conclude the second quarter. He also said that he was happy with Welch’s efforts, as she blocked a shot, took the Griffs’ only offensive foul, and hit a 3 as their final shot clock of the half expired.

“I thought we were not great offensively, and we won the game because we defended and we rebounded the basketball. That was huge for us,” said Zeh.

Saturday, the Griffs will play the second game of their home stretch against the Iona Gaels.

In their December 31 matchup with the Gaels, the Griffs lost on a three point buzzer-beater that sealed the victory for the Gaels, 52-55.

In the game, Hinriksdottir led in rebounds with 7 and shared the team’s point lead with junior Saliah Serrette, as they each scored 12.

Hinriksdottir said that the team’s movement was good against the Gaels last time around, and to pull off the win this time, they need a better finish.

Hinriksdottir also leads the Griffs in total points up to this point in the season, with 329, and in rebounds, with 125.

“Before every game, I don’t look to score this many points,” said Henriksdottir. “I get this many points from the motion and from the team.”

Coach Zeh also commented on how the team must ready for the Gaels.

“We have to defend and rebound against them and get a game plan together for (Marina) Lizarazu. She’s one of the best players in the league,” said Zeh. “They’re playing really well right now; they’ve won four or five in a row.”

Next Friday, the Niagara Purple Eagles will be at the KAC to take on the Griffs to complete the three game stretch. When the teams squared off in January, the Griffs prevailed by a score of 65-57.

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