McLaughlin nets career-high in UNH win
Philip Zoppi – Sports Writer
Senior Taylor McLaughlin was the dominant force that edged Southern over the University of New Haven in the Owls’ 79-54 win last Wednesday night.
McLaughlin finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds; UNH did not have an answer for the star forward all game long.
“I just really owe it all to my teammates,” said McLaughlin. “They set me up all night.”
McLaughlin can praise her teammates all she wants, but what she is doing this year is remarkable. Just last week McLaughlin notched her 1,000th career point for Southern, and is currently averaging a double-double on the season (21.1 ppg and 10.9 rpg).
Head coach, Kate Lynch, was more than impressed with her senior captain after arguably her best performance of the season.
“It’s really fun watching her play,” said Lynch. “She is really blossoming and you can see her confidence on the floor. Something that we’re really proud of is her defensive effort today. She was really great defensively in the post today. She’s been great for us this year, we can’t ask for anything more from her.”
The UNH Chargers jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but that was the only time they were up the entire game. The Owls came out firing as they spread the floor and knocked down threes at an unbelievable rate.
Southern finished shooting 52 percent from beyond the arc. Lynch thought her team played to their strengths for the majority of the game.
“That’s kind of how we play and it was nice to finally see that,” said Lynch when referring to her team’s three point success. “We’re not gun shy. We’re shooters and even if we are not having a good night we’re going to keep shooting.”
McLaughlin did most of her work in the paint, but she also contributed to the three-point effort as she shot 3-for-4 from three-point range. One of McLaughlin’s good friends on the team, Murphy Murad, set her up for some of those three point shots.
Murad finished with a team-high 10 assists while playing what Lynch said was some of her best defensive games of the year.
“Honestly my teammates just gave me a lot of confidence,” said Murad. “One of the things that I’m best at is pushing the ball in transition so kudos to my teammates for running up the floor the whole game.”
Murad and McLaughlin expressed that this was a team win that they really wanted to get. The Owls’ sat at 2-4 heading into the game against their archrivals. The win has now brought them within one game of a .500 record (3-4 on the season).
Lynch preached to her team that they have to control what they can control, and that is defense. The Owls played exceptional defense on Wednesday night as they held UNH to 35 percent shooting. UNH’s 54 points was the least amount of points that Southern has allowed this season.
According to Lynch, one of the players that was key to the Owls’ success on defense was Murad.
“Defensively, she does not get tired,” said Lynch. “When she’s out there she is our floor general. When things aren’t going great she is able to pull us back and run things that we need to run. She’s been invaluable to us.”
McLaughlin and Murad will look to keep things rolling for the Owls as they head to New York to face Pace University on Dec. 7.
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications