MICHAEL COSTEINES — Special to Southern News
Southern women’s basketball, aided by brilliant individual displays propelled themselves to a 66-60 win over the visiting Southern New Hampshire Penwomen Wednesday night at Moore Fieldhouse.
The Owls forced 26 turnovers, including 19 in the first half. There were just 22 shot attempts for Southern New Hampshire. The 26 turnovers included 15 steals which turned into 24 points for the Owls. Southern New Hampshire shot 11 percent from the 3-point line, making just one of their nine attempts.
“Our offense comes natural but defense is hard work,” said sophomore Moni Smith- Ocran. “We set goals for each game on defense and try to go out and accomplish them, whether it be to get 10 steals or force 15 turnovers.”
After the Penwomen jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, the Owls went on an 18-0 run over a seven-minute span, led by senior guard Sylvonya Moore. Moore hit her first seven shots and scored 15 points during the run, finishing with 20 for the half. Moore’s versatility was on full display, hitting two three-pointers as well as taking the ball to the basket on multiple occasions.
On defense, Moore held her defensive assignment with no points on two shots in 31 minutes. She also forced six turnovers overall, five in the first half.
“Sylvonya is an uncanny competitor,” said head coach Meghan Brown. “She is both fun to coach and watch out on the court.”
Moore continued her strong play in the second half, finishing with a career-high 30 points on 12-of-15 shooting to go along with six rebounds and six steals. The 30 points passes her previous high of 27 set earlier this season against American International College.
“I was just feeling it out there,” said Moore. “I was driving to the lane and getting to the basket as well as shooting the ball from outside.”
The Owls never trailed in the second half, despite Southern New Hampshire picking up the offensive pace and shrinking the lead to two with less then nine minutes left. However, Moore—along with contributions from senior guard Alex Fiola with nine points on three 3-pointers and Moni Smith-Ocran with nine points and six rebounds—never allowed Southern New Hampshire to take the lead.
Despite the surge, the Owls continued to put pressure on the Penwomen in the back court, taking charges and forcing Southern New Hampshire out of their offensive rhythm even when it seemed momentum might shift.
Both Brown, Moore and Smith-Ocran all said they stress team defense before every practice and on film with hard work, intensity and toughness on the court.
The defense showed it tonight.
“Heart, desperation, motivation, intensity. That’s how we go about defense every practice and in every game,” said Smith-Ocran.
The Owls then played against number five in the nation, Bentley, and they defeated them 63-59 to extend their win streak to 14.
With this victory the Owls improve to 16-3 (11-2 in the NE-10) while Southern New Hampshire falls to 15-5 (11-2 in the NE-10).