Bobby Martinez – Staff Writer –
After ending their five game losing streak last Wednesday with a 59-54 victory over Saint Anselm, the Owls women’s basketball team hit the road Saturday only to be defeated by the Skyhawks of Stonehill University, 70-66.
Coming off an overtime loss to Merrimack College, the Owls started the first half with a lot of intensity on both sides of the ball.
The game was back and forth with both teams trading baskets-mainly off turnovers. Freshman Katie Stopera, who scored a career high 18 points, gave the Owls a spark from three-point range early in the first half, tying the game at 10-10.
Throughout the first half, turnovers affected the Owls chances from extending their lead.
Saint Anselm capitalized off turnovers, scoring the majority of their first half points by converting turnovers to fast break points.
Even though the Owls were turning the ball over, defense was keeping them in the game, causing Saint Anselm to turn the ball over as well.
Midway through the first half, the Owls began to lose energy and didn’t get back on defense that gave Saint Anselm a 14-18 lead with 9:34 left in the first half. Senior Camille Fantini sparked the Owls with a key three-pointer that cut the lead to 17-22.
After Fantini’s three-pointer, the Owls were careless with the ball resulting in a total of 24 turnovers in the game.
Jackie Beathea and Moni-Smith Ocran, were both grabbing rebounds on both sides of the ball. With 3:10 left in the first half, Fantini gave Southern the lead 24-22 with a pull up three-pointer. The Owls went into the half with a 28-27 lead.
Regarding the first half, head coach Meghan Brown said the team needed to get the ball into the paint.
“We needed to do a better job to feed the post,” Brown said. “Individually we weren’t playing to our potential, we were settling for outside shots.”
As the second half began, the Owls focused more on their two post players Beathea and Ocran.
Throughout the second half, the Owls defense was much sharper consistently then it was in the first half. Beathea and Ocran controlled the Owls chances, drawing a lot of double teams giving them open looks.
The Owls did trail 44-48 with 8:48 left until Beathea and Ocran started converting rebounds into points, giving the Owls a lead 50-48 with 6:32 left.
The Owls defense forced Saint Anselm to turn the ball over 29 times in the game and also shoot 28 percent from three-point range.
With four minutes left in the game, Beathea and Ocran took over down low scoring easily and extending their lead to 54-48.
“In the second half, we knew we had to come out strong and keep our defense up to transition and get the ball up,” Stopera said.
Fantini said she realized the importance of using their post players in order to keep the lead.
“Our post players are two of the best post players in the conference,” Fantini said. “Getting them the ball and having them produce and rebound was very important for us to keep the lead.”
In Saturday’s game v.s. Stonehill, the Owls trailed by 13 with 8:48 remaining in regulation.
From there, the Owls proceeded to go on a 17-6 run to ultimately cut their deficit to two points.
Because time was a factor, the Owls were forced to foul to stop the clock.
The Skyhawks would convert on all their free throw opportunities to secure the victory. Beathea led the Owls with 22 points, while Ocran and Fantini contributed with 26 points combined.
The loss puts the Owls in fifteenth place in the Northeast-10 Conference.