Women's Basketball News & Highlights
February 06, 2013
Eagles Take Critical Freedom Test
After missing the last two games, sophomore forward Meghan Nowak returned in a limited role. The Eagles trailed 10-2 when Nowak checked into the game. Though she only a single basket in her first four minute stretch, the Eagles had tied the game at 10-10 when Nowak returned to the bench.
The Eagles led 16-15 when Nowak returned with nine and half minutes to play. The Cougars briefly regained the lead on a Sam Baro layup before the Eagles pieced together a 9-0 run to over a two minute stretch. Kaitlyn Dougherty hit Eastern's only 3-pointer of the opening period in the stretch and Kaleigh Boreman made a pair of free throws.
The Cougars countered with an 11-3 run to tie the game at 28-28. Misericordia guard Lauren Smicherko scored six points in the run, and Caitlin Kessler tied the score with 3:43 to play. Eastern scored the final two points of the half to lead 30-28 at intermission.
Dougherty led all scorers at the break with 13. Gina DiDomenico had seven and Nowak had five. Smicherko led Misericordia with eight points.
Dougherty finished with a career-best 25 points and seven assists. She helped the Eagles jump out to a six point edge in the early going of the second period with two baskets and an assist in the opening four minutes. The Cougars trimmed the deficit to 36-33 on a three-point play from Hannah Seely, but the Eagles would not allow Misericordia back within six the rest of the way as the Eagles scored six straight points.
DiDomenico scored four of her 15 in the run. Nowak showed a return to form in her second half playing time. She made four-of-six shots in ten minutes and had another basket waved off for an offensive foul after an aggressive move to the basket.
With the Eastern defense holding Misericordia to only nine points in the first 12 minutes of the period, the lead stretched to 16 points. The Cougars put on a run and closed the gap to 60-51 with three minutes to go. Kelsie Patton hit a 3-pointer late in the shot clock while being fouled to push the Eastern lead back to 12. Patton missed the free throw, but with the lead back to 12, the game seemed safe.
Dougherty made all four of her free throws down the stretch to hold off the final Cougar push. Eastern made 16-of-20 free throws after intermission.
"If there is a silver lining to it," Head Coach Nate Davis said of Nowak's injury, "It is that Doc [Dougherty] and Gina [DiDomenico] and everyone else had to step up. We saw the positive results of that tonight. We have more work to do, but this was a big win for us."
With Nowak back in the game and Dougherty and DiDomenico getting to the rim, the Eagles took only two 3-point attempts in the second half. Eastern shot 52 percent in the second half and was 46 percent for the game.
DiDomenico grabbed a game-high nine boards and repeatedly chased high scoring guard Tyann McDaniel off her shot. In the last meeting between the two teams, McDaniel scored 20 of her 28 after DiDomenico picked up her fourth foul. Patton finished with nine points, eight rebounds, and three steals.
Seely led the Cougars with 19 points and Smicherko added 16.
With tonight's results, three teams, FDU, King's and DeSales are already in the Freedom playoffs. The Eagles travel to Wilkes on Saturday. The Eagles cannot clinch a playoff berth, but they can reduce their magic number to one.
Updated: Friday, 08 February 2013