PLYMOUTH – The MU Ancilla Women’s Basketball Team returned home on Saturday coming off of two tough road losses, one at Kellogg and the other at Southwestern Michigan.
The Chargers needed a win to stay in the MCCAA playoff race as they hosted the 7-0 and division-leading Glen Oaks Vikings, a team that had defeated the Chargers 57-47 earlier in the season. This time, it was MU Ancilla who was able to play just well enough to get a key win by the score of 56-52, thanks to some hot early shooting and strong defense throughout the game.
The Chargers jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on the strength of some strong shooting and stingy defense that set the tone for the first half. Glen Oaks made a quick run to take the lead at 11-9 thanks to their pressure defense.
MU Ancilla regrouped to score the last 8 points of the quarter, taking a 19-14 lead after the 1st quarter. The Chargers rode that strong finish of the first quarter into the second quarter where they stayed red-hot from the field, eventually growing their lead to fifteen points at 37-22 late in the half. Glen Oaks was able to score the last four points of the half to cut in to the lead.
Coach Gould was very pleased with the play in the first half.
“We have really struggled the past two games with making shots so to see the girls come out and shoot about 70 percent in the first half was certainly a bright spot for us,” he said. “We typically are a team that plays very hard but when shots have continued to not fall over the last week, I think it took away a little bit of our toughness on the defensive end. Seeing a few shots go in early really helped us stick with it on the defensive end against a very talented Glen Oaks team that has been putting up a ton of points lately.”
The second half began with both teams trading some early baskets while the lead remained solidly in double figures. Glen Oaks was finally able to get the lead down to 9 late in the 3rd before the Chargers scored to get the lead back to 10 at 48-38 after three quarters.
Glen Oaks continued to ramp up their pressure in the 4th quarter which led to a string of Charger turnovers and an offensive run for the visiting Vikings. The Chargers were able to maintain their slim lead throughout, never allowing Glen Oaks to take the lead.
Glen Oaks made a late push late in the game on the strength of their offensive rebounding and some timely 3-point shooting. Back-to-back three-point shots cut the lead to 53-52 with just 1:18 left in the game. After a Glen Oaks timeout, it was Kyra Duncan who hit a key shot in transition off of a pass from Alexis German to stretch the lead back to 3 points. From there, the Chargers were able to string together three defensive stops in a row and three made free throws, one from Samaria Freeman and two from Nicole Swain, to finish the scoring with the Chargers coming out on top by the score of 56-52.
Coach Gould commented on the importance of this game and how the Chargers were able to secure the win.
“This was a really big game for us in terms of staying in the conference race,” he said. “We knew we could not afford a 3rd loss in a row and we wanted to defend our home court. The girls played so hard even when things were not going right. The first time we played Glen Oaks, they were by far the more aggressive and physical team. We talked about needing to be ready for a battle and I thought that we stepped up to that challenge.”
Kyra Duncan led the Chargers with 22 points and 7 rebounds. She was joined in double figures by Nicole Swain who finished with 10 points. Jayci Allen continued her amazing work on the glass by adding 17 rebounds to her 5 points for the Chargers who move to 16-8 on the season and 4-4 in the MCCAA Western Division. They will return to action on Wednesday, February 15th when they head to Lansing, MI to take on Lansing CC.