Big First Quarter Leads Greyhounds to Win over Albright to Head to Semester Break at 8-2

Camille McPherson '17 drives towards the basket versus Albright College.
Camille McPherson '17 drives towards the basket versus Albright College.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College women's basketball team jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter and went on to defeat visiting Albright College, 65-56, Saturday afternoon in Johnston Hall.

The Greyhounds improve to 3-0 on their season-high eight-game home stand and head to the semester break with an 8-2 mark after finishing off six games in 12 days since returning from Thanksgiving.

"I thought it was a great win against a physical, big and tough Albright squad," stated Head Coach Mary Beth Spirk. "Their record is a little deceiving but they have all of that experience from being in the NCAA Tournament the last three years. For us, I just thought a great win at home, finishing out six games in 12 days. We kind of just grinded it out. I thought we played great in spots and in others we looked tired and made a couple of mistakes.

"The sign of a good team is that you come back and get the win," Spirk continued. "Camille and Maddie made some big plays down the stretch, and Trista taking those charges is so tough. It feels good, and this is how you want to go into break with a W. Hopefully we can get some rest and come back strong."

Moravian had two players in double figures in the victory with graduate student forward Camille McPherson tossing in 21 points to go with three rebounds as McPherson moved to 13th in school history with 1,155 points. Sophomore guard Maddie Capuano added 10 points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals for the Greyhounds.

Sophomore forward Nadine Ewald contributed eight points and six rebounds while senior forwards Trista Cunningham and Ciara Stewart each had seven points with Cunningham adding six rebounds and Stewart recording three rebounds and three blocked shots. Sophomore guard Karlie Brogan had six points and six rebounds while junior forward Ariana Caiati and freshmen guard Jennifer McClave and Julia Sirotnak each had two points with Sirotnak grabbing five rebounds and Caiati adding three boards.

Moravian shot well from the field in the opening half, making 15-of-35 field goal attempts and 4-of-8 three-pointers, but the Greyhounds cooled off in the second half, finishing 24-of-64 from the floor, 6-for-17 beyond the three-point line and 11-of-19 at the foul line. For just the third time in eight games, Moravian was out-rebounded as the Lions had a 52-42 edge in the boards. The Blue and Grey have won two of the three games they have been out-rebounded. The Hounds also forced Albright into 22 turnovers in the contest.

Albright opened the scoring before Moravian took an 8-5 lead on a three-pointer by Capuano at the 7:46 mark. After the Lions cut the edge to a point, the Greyhounds pushed the lead to 15-7 after a lay-up from Brogan at the 4:12 mark. McPherson hit a three-pointer to give the Blue and Grey an 18-9 advantage and a late jumper by McClave had the Hounds with a 22-12 edge after the first 10 minutes of action.

Ewald scored the first basket of the second quarter as the lead went to 12 points, 24-12, before Albright ran off eight straight points to cut the advantage to 24-20 with 7:34 before the intermission. Capuano pushed the lead back to double digits, 30-20, with a lay-up at the 3:36 mark, and McPherson had the Greyhounds up 35-25 with 1:35 before halftime. However, the Lions scored seven of the final nine points of the half to cut the Blue and Grey lead to 37-32 at the break.

The Lions raced out of the locker room to start the second half with seven straight points to take a 39-37 lead before Brogan tied the game with a lay-up. Albright would knot the score at 42-42 with 6:11 left in the third quarter before Stewart gave Moravian the lead for good at 44-42 with a lay-up at 5:27. McPherson drained another three-pointer for a 49-42 edge before a late jumper from the Lions had the Greyhounds ahead, 49-44, after 30 minutes of action.

Lions pulled within a point, 49-48, 1:20 into the fourth quarter before a three-point play by Stewart pushed the Hounds' edge back to four points. McPherson hit her fourth three-pointer of the contest and Capuano followed with a lay-up off of a steal to push the lead to eight points, 60-52, with just under a minute to play. McPherson added four free throws to seal the victory.

The Hounds are off for 21 days before returning to action on Saturday, December 30 when the squad hosts the Roosevelt's 21st Greyhound Classic with an opening round game versus Allegheny College set to tip-off at 2:00 p.m. in Johnston Hall.