Emory’s women’s basketball team battled through two decisive games in the team’s third consecutive week of UAA competition.
The Eagles traveled to Cleveland where they sported a decisive victory against the Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) Spartans Friday, Jan. 20, and crossed the Ohio-Pennsylvania border Sunday, Jan. 22, only to lose by 20 to the Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) Tartans in Pittsburgh. Emory’s record settles to 11-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play.
In the first quarter against Case Western, the Eagles allowed 20 points and fell behind the Spartans. Sophomore guard Azzairia Jackson-Sherrod and senior guard Shellie Kaniut each contributed six points to Emory’s first quarter total of 17.
Jackson-Sherrod and senior guard/forward Michelle Bevan sparked the offense in the second quarter, tallying six and seven more points, respectively. Emory outscored Case Western 17-16 in the second and trailed by two at halftime.
Both squads lit up the court offensively in the third quarter, Emory scoring 26 and Case Western 25. Each team converted on four three-point field goals and garnered offensive production from a slew of different players. Emory was led by sophomore center Ashley Oldshue, who marked 10 points for the Eagles in the third.
In the fourth quarter, Emory ran the floor against the Spartans. The Eagles tightened up defensively and outscored their foe 19-4 in the final quarter. Every athlete on the court for Emory solidified the team’s defensive presence and successfully converted defense into offense.
Attributing the team’s success to the defensive press, Kaniut affirmed that her team’s defensive improvements in the second half were instrumental in their victory.
“In the second half we started pressing them,” Kaniut said. “We interfered with what they wanted to do on offense and we gave them a lot of ball pressure so they couldn’t take advantage of their size down low.”
With a dominant fourth quarter, the women garnered a comfortable 79-65 victory against Case Western.
“We really rallied and played tough,” Head Coach Christy Thomaskutty said. “We came together and refused to lose. When things got tough down nine points, we played well together.”
The Eagles’ second game yielded much poorer results. Emory could not answer Carnegie Mellon’s offensive attack and suffered a loss at the hands of the Tartans.
The Eagles kept the game close in the first quarter. Leading Emory’s offensive efforts early, senior guard Fran Sweeney fired two successful three-point baskets. However, Carnegie Mellon held against the Eagles in the first quarter, 20-17.
To the Eagles’s dismay, Carnegie Mellon established a hefty lead in the second quarter. Leading to an underwhelming Emory performance, the Tartans tacked on 29 points and held Emory to 17 in the second.
Thomaskutty proclaimed that her team did not challenge Carnegie’s low-post players and failed to successfully execute the defensive game plan.
“We are struggling when the other team has a dominant low post player,” Thomaskutty said. “We did not control the variables that we could control defensively and it was a domino effect from there.”
Down 15, Emory was not able to turn the tides against Carnegie Mellon in the second half. The Tartans outperformed Emory offensively and defensively. The Eagles failed to come back and eventually lost the game, 93-73.
Kaniut believed her team’s inability to stick to the game plan led to its defeat.
“Although we cut [Carnegie’s] lead in the third quarter, we just didn’t stick with the game plan and that’s how they pulled away,” Kaniut said.
Thomaskutty mentioned her disappointment with the result of the game against the Tartans, admitting that Carnegie Mellon thoroughly outplayed her team.
“Carnegie had their way with us,” Thomaskutty exclaimed. “We did not stick to the game plan defensively speaking and [Carnegie] got to do what they wanted to do rather than us making it harder on the defensive end.”
Emory will be back on the court Friday, Jan. 27, when the Eagles host Brandeis University (Mass.) at the WoodPEC.