Grenadiers defeat rival in physical test

IUS Horizon

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Ashmere Woods, sophomore guard, struggles to get up after a physical play during the game against Brescia University on Jan. 13.

The IUS women’s basketball team rebounded from a loss in their previous game with a 75-63 victory over Brescia University Jan. 13 at the Activities Building.

The game was a tough and physical one as evidenced by the multiple players on both teams that fell to the floor.

Those familiar with the history between the two teams know that hard play is not uncommon but rather expected when the teams face each other.

“It’s always a physical game when we play Brescia,” Ashmere Woods, sophomore guard, said. “It’s our biggest rivalry.”

The Grenadiers got off to a bit of a slow start trailing the Lady Bearcats 10-4 in the opening minutes of the game.

However, the sluggish start didn’t last, and the Grenadiers were able to find their offense while putting the defensive clamps on the Lady Bearcats.

The Grenadiers were able to control the tempo for the rest of the half and led Brescia 32-23 at the break.

In the second half, the Grenadiers continued with their hot shooting, especially behind the arc.The Grenadiers shot 9 for 21 on 3-pointers for the game.

The shooting and timely defense saw the Grenadiers hold a double-digit lead for most of the second half.

A couple of turnovers down the stretch that led to several Brescia scores prompted head coach Robin Farris to call a timeout. Farris knew this was a critical point in the game and wanted to get the team re-focused.

During the timeout, assistant coach Bernie Merkel calmed the team during the final stretch that saw the Lady Bearcats cut the Grenadiers lead under double digits.

“We got this,” Merkel said as he tried to energize the team for the final minutes.Merkel kept reminding the Grenadiers  they had a few timeouts they could use if they couldn’t inbound the ball amidst the Brescia pressure.

Although Brescia trimmed the Grenadier lead to within a reasonable margin, time was running out on the Lady Bearcats.

Brescia decided to start fouling the Grenadiers in order to extend the game much to the chagrin of Woods.

“It’s very frustrating when you’re trying to get the ball down the court and the other team keeps fouling,” Woods said.

The Grenadiers were up to the challenge and made Brescia pay for sending them to the free-throw line hitting 18 of their 21 attempts for the game.

Great defense and balanced scoring overwhelmed the Lady Bearcats and won the game for the Grenadiers.

“Defense was the key to our victory tonight,” Farris said. “We held them to 62 points.”

The Grenadier backcourt was impressive both offensively and defensively.

Whitney Duncan, senior guard, had 21 points, and her backcourt mates Nicole Holman, senior guard, and Woods finished with 18 and 14, respectively.

Megan Murphy, junior forward, chipped in with 13 points for the Grenadiers in what was truly a team effort.

Lauren Brim, senior guard, was pleased with the team’s victory.

“It was a nice win for us tonight, and everyone stepped up,” Brim said.

“We did a great job of holding their best players from having an explosive game.”

Brim is all too familiar with the capabilities of Brescia’s players. “Bird and Houston are clearly their best players,” Brim said.

The Brescia tandem of Brittany Bird, Brescia senior guard, and Clarissa Houston, Brescia senior guard/forward, average 40 points a game but were held to 28 points on 9 of 27 shooting.

Brim, who dislocated her shoulder, was disappointed about not being able to play.

“I hated that I wasn’t in their tonight,” Brim said.

“They’re our biggest rival and the games are always heated,” Brim said. “This game just never lets down.”

Farris was especially pleased at the job done by Duncan.

“She held an all-American type of guard in Brittany Bird to 18 points when she averages over 20,” Farris said.

“Whitney plays hard every night. She just competes.”

Having surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career in the previous game, Duncan has brought success to the team.

The rivalry will continue on Feb. 10 when the Grenadiers travel to Brescia for another physical and heated match.