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The St. Catharine College women had a big non-conference win last Monday over Bethel University, who came to Lourdes Hall as the No. 16 team in the latest NAIA poll. But following that big victory, Lena Bramblett’s team suffered a tough setback to Mid-South Conference for Bluefield College.
The 1-1 week left the Patriots with an overall record of 18-8 and a conference mark of 10-7. That puts the Patriots alone in fifth place in the conference as the season winds down with three games remaining, all on the road.
Bramblett’s squad is back in action Thursday with a 7 p.m. (EST) tip at Lindsey Wilson. They then travel to Campbellsville for a 2 p.m. game on Saturday before winding up the regular season at Georgetown on Monday in a 6 p.m. contest. Georgetown (No. 19) and Campbellsville (18) are tied for second place in the MSC.
Even after a somewhat sluggish performance, it appeared that the Patriots would pull out a win over visiting Bluefield College when they mounted a comeback that gave them a 62-58 lead with 5:23 to play. But the Rams ended the game on a 13-6 run to pull out the 71-68 Mid-South Conference victory.
The victory gave Bluefield (16-11. 8-9) a sweep of the season series as they earlier topped the Patriots 64-50.
The Patriots trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half before rallying to take the lead. And, after the Rams regained the lead, they still had a chance to send the game into overtime but Janae Howard’s three-point attempt at the buzzer barely missed.
“Even when we got the lead late I didn’t feel real good about the way the game was going,” said Bramblett. “We just weren’t hitting the shots like we have been. But give them (Bluefield) credit. They have some good athletes who made the plays late.”
One statistic sealed the doom for Lena Bramblett’s team as they hit only 16 of 33 free throw attempts (48.5 percent) which included 12 misses in the second half. The Patriots shot just 32 percent from the field that included 6-19 (32 percent) from 3-point range.
Bluefield shot 41.5 percent overall and was 50 percent (3-6) from behind the arc. The Rams sank 14 of 19 free throws for 74 percent.
Janae Howard led four Patriots in double figures with 23 points.
Machera Calhoun had a season high 18 points and Reilly Poirier and Rianne Hofstraat had 15 and 12, respectively. Poirier had 16 rebounds as St. Catharine held a 52-46 rebounding edge and Hofstraat, fourth in the nation in blocked shots, had a season high six blocks.
The numbers jump off the stats page in reviewing the Patriots 71-54 win over the No. 16 Bethel University Wildcats who visited St.
Catharine Monday. Janae Howard with a huge game of 40 points and 12 rebounds. Reilly Poirier with 17 points and 13 boards. But head coach Lena Bramblett says there is much more underlying the victory.
“It was a great win for us in a lot of respects,” said Bramblett whose team improved to “Yes, we had 22 turnovers but we showed heart and what we are capable of doing when we put our minds to it. And, while the stats were big for two players, it was definitely a team effort.”
That team effort, Bramblett added, came from Rianne Hofstraat who corralled the Wildcats’ talented guard Alisha Gentry who had only four second half points after scoring 10 in the opening period. And from Stacie Shrout and Carol Ruiz-Lopez who gave point guard Machera Calhoun help at the point guard position.
“That is big to hold a team like that to 18 points in the second half,” Bramblett said. “I just can’t say enough about the effort our entire team gave.”
That effort looked like it might not result in a win as the Patriots trailed 36-30 late in the first half. But a big momentum boost came at the buzzer when Howard drilled a trey from deep in the corner to cut the deficit to three points at the break.
In the second half neither team led by more than four points until late in the game. St. Catharine then went on a 13-2 run that turned a four point advantage into a 65-50 lead with 2:53 to play. Alexiss Griffin started that run with a 3-point goal and Howard added the next five points.
Howard’s big game came from 15-26 shooting from the field which included 5-8 from long range. Poirier was 7-14 from the field as the Patriots shot 43.5 percent from the field but a sparkling 47 percent from behind the arc.
Bethel (18-7), who also lost to the Patriots in the first week of the season, shot 33 percent from the field and was 40 percent on three-point attempts. They were outrebounded by the Patriots 44-30. The Wildcats were 10-10 from the foul line while the Patriots were 9-15.