By Hannah Brown, Student Reporter
The women’s basketball team packed their bags and traveled to Northern Virginia to take on the Cardinals of Stratford University this past Friday, Jan. 18. Aware of what was ahead, the Lady Knights focused on their mental game, knowing this would be the priority in order to walk away with the win over the newly established, yet talented Cardinals. Execution, as well as pushing the ball and keeping up the tempo, were the Lady Knights main concerns.
Basketball is a game of runs, which is exactly what the first half turned out to be. With Stratford moving the ball well on offense, the Lady Knights were forced to be quick on their feet, shutting down Stratford’s primary offense. This tough defense forced the Cardinals to shoot from the outside, going only 10% from behind the arc and 15% from field goal range. Leana Borreli closed out the first quarter with a deep field goal, putting Central Penn ahead 27-10 early. With the tone set from the start and the Lady Knights taking control, the Cardinals refused to give up, picking up their intensity on both ends of the court. Central Penn was outscored 13-16 in the second quarter, but still entered the locker room leading 40-26. Ja’Lynn Burton-Jones was a powerhouse the first half, totaling 18 points in her first 13 minutes. Jahrae Patterson closely followed with 12 points in 10 minutes.
The Lady Knights entered the second half with a new intensity. Once again, the scoring was back and forth and the tempo was quick. Borreli stepped up big for the Lady Knights in the third quarter, going 5 for 6 from field goal range, totaling 10 points in just eight minutes. The major difference this half: Central Penn outworkedthe Cardinalsthe on the boards.
Michaela Sensenig used her long wingspan to get fingertips on the basketball when she could. This effort allowed her teammates to grab the loose balls, resulting in the team's 21 rebounds in the second half, compared to Stratford’s 14 rebounds. The Lady Knights got back into their fast break game, pushing the ball down the court every possession possible. This effort carried over into the fourth quarter when Wislene Verna used her quickness on defense to grab two quick steals resulting in 4 points off the fast break.
The Lady Knights ended the game with three players in double digits. Jones added to her already incredible career by tallying 35 points in only 24 minutes due to foul trouble. She shot over 50% from behind the three-point line and went 13 for 22 from field goal range. Patterson and Borreli both ended the night with double doubles. Patterson chipped in 14 points and an even more impressive 15 rebounds, while Borreli grabbed 11 rebounds to go with her 18 points, a new career high for the freshman.
When asked about the big win, Coach Kasey Hicks had nothing but positives to say about her team’s effort. “Stratford is a very good team and that was a great team win for us. We had players step up huge for us through some foul trouble and they made great plays. That’s why this team is special. They all want this; they all know when to step up. We just have to keep it rolling!”
The 85-70 win over the Cardinals carries the Lady Knights to a 4-game winning streak. Central Penn will take on Alfred State College next, Jan. 24, at East Penn High School with an 8 p.m. tipoff.