Women’s basketball 72-66
Ben Martin – Contributor
The university’s women’s basketball team captured their first win in the Northeast 10 conference tournament over the Adelphi University Panthers on Friday with a score of 72-66.
However, towards the end of the second quarter, the Owls only held a one-point lead with three minutes and 47 seconds left in the half. Nevertheless, the Owls would not go down without a fight. Just a minute later, graduate student Isabella Santoro, guard, hit a layup while drawing a foul, bringing the Owls lead up to three.
“I feel good,” Santoro said. “Just doing what my team needs me to do, rebounding and hustling whatever it takes to get that win.”
Then, Santoro would go to the line and tack on the free throw extending the Owls lead to four. After Santoro, the Owls fell scoreless until the end of the half. With time winding down, guard Delaney Connors, graduate student, would knock in a three at the buzzer extending the lead to seven going into the break.
“It’s nice to see the ball go in, but it takes all of us,” Connors said. “It was a good all-around day for all of us.”
Like at the end of the half, Santoro and Connors would lead the way to the Owls victory. Santoro ended the game with a double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds while adding four assists. Connors was the second leading scorer for the Owls knocking down four three-point shots on her way to 14 points and three assists.
Santoro leading the way for the Owls shows the value of the transfer portal. Santoro, who played for Stonehill last season, knocked the Owls out of the Northeast 10 tournament in the semifinals.
“To end someone’s season sucks,” Santoro, who finished last year’s tournament matchup with eight points, said. “To be here with the potential on this team and some of these kids are just absolute all stars and just to play next to them is an honor.”
Along with Santoro, Connors believes there is something special that separates this year’s team from the ones in Southern’s past.
“We just have a lot of potential, we come in everyday ready to work,” Connors said. “We’ve had this goal set out for the last year, with these individuals and it is really fun to see it come together for another year.”
Coming out of the break, the Owls would continue to play well. They started the half by going on an eight to zero run that lasted the first four minutes.
“I’m really happy with how we came out in the third quarter,” Owl’s head coach Kate Lynch said. “That is something that has really been our Achillies heal.”
The run at the beginning of the third quarter showed growth with the sense of urgency Lynch added in a must win game for the Owls
“A win is a win in the playoffs,” Lynch said. “It is a survive and advance kind of feel.”
Although the Owls did capture the win, there are always areas for improvement as they move forward in tournament play. Defense was an area that Coach Lynch stressed; however, she does want to keep some things the same.
“We just have to keep playing team basketball, outhustling people and having that sense of urgency, just playing together for 40 minutes.”
In Friday’s matchup, the Owls hustle showed on both the defensive and offensive ends. The Owls finished the game by scoring 17 points off turnovers and they had 11 fast break points. Furthermore, the Owls had 34 rebounds to the Panthers 28.
“Just taking it day by day, resting our bodies, knowing our scouts,” Santoro said. “Just taking it day by day.”
Photo Credits: Sarah Shelton