poor shooting drops Lady Griffins to .500 in WVIAC play

An inability to tickle the twine cost the Lady Griffins, who managed only 22 first half points and 54 total, a critical conference game to Fairmont State January 18 at the McKenna Center.

By Sean Maiolo

Staff Writer

An inability to tickle the twine cost the Lady Griffins, who managed only 22 first half points and 54 total, a critical conference game to Fairmont State January 18 at the McKenna Center.

The 60-54 final tally dropped the ladies’ record to 4-4 in conference play and 8-4 overall. After winning their previous four games and eight of their first nine, the team has since lost three straight and are looking to find a way out of their mini-slump.

“I think the team is in a mental slump,” noted Head Coach Ferne Labati. “We didn’t play together as a team. I think everybody is over-trying. Everyone just tried to do it themselves.

I wasnít pleased because we went from being 27th in the nation to losing three games in a row.”

Junior guard/forward Jordan Burkes once again led the Lady Griffins in scoring, netting 15 points and assisted on eight other buckets. She was the only player to reach double figures for Seton Hill (SHU) with the next closest being freshman forward Lindsy Muchnock with seven.

“We just came out with no intensity,” said senior guard/forward Erika Haitz, who scored five points. “We need to start coming out harder every game. Every game that we do come out intense in the first half we win and we end up playing well.”

“On offense, we couldn’t get into any flow. Our defense has been keeping us in games, holding teams to under 60, and when we do that we usually win,” Haitz said.

Senior guard Orit Farchi echoed the same sentiments.
“It was a poor shooting night, I guess,” she said, noting the team missed all eight from beyond the arc in the first half and shot only 34.5 percent in the game.
“I mean, we do work hard, all of us coming out in practices and shooting around.”

Although their defense looked solid in the loss, senior guard Jenna Petrini felt that at times they still could have played better, especially in the second half when Fairmont State (6-2 WVIAC, 9-4 overall) shot 50 percent from the field.

“Our defense can always be better,” she said. “We constantly work at practice at defending and working with each other, the guards and the forwards, and we weren’t on the same page all game.”

Several on the team think that the return of students to classes could prove beneficial in ending their three game slide.

“I prefer the more hyped-up campus,” said senior guard Laura McCarthy. “When there’s no one here, you have to depend on your teammates and your coaches and family for that hype.”
“When we’re here over break, I kind of feel that it’s just really, really empty,” Farchi added. “The support can help us get out of our little slump.”

However, the popular belief is that the team needs to regain their focus and get back to basics in order to make a strong second half push.

“We can come up and win out the rest of the season,” said Haitz. “The talent’s on our team, we have everyone back this year and we just need to get it together.”
“I think that we can definitely make a run in this league,” Labati said. ‘I think mental toughness is one of the factors that we got to work on going forward.”

To make that run, the Lady Griffins will have to win in the dogfight that is WVIAC play, where they have been up and down thus far this season.

“It’s a grinding conference,” she said. “Our conference is very difficult from top to bottom and you have to be very focused and very prepared and ready to play for each game because it’s very intense.”
Labati also believes adjusting to the more compressed schedule could be a factor in the teamís improvement down the stretch.

“We’re playing just about every other day, three games a week, whereas before we were playing one game a week. We need confidence, poise and intensity because those three things are extremely important.”
The ladies’ recent funk has not been indicative of their play over the holiday break. On December 30 they notched a huge 67-56 win at home over then 10th ranked California (PA).

Senior forward Katie Lintner led the team in both scoring and rebounding with 19 points and six boards. Guard/forwards Haitz and Burkes both scored in double figures with 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Keying the ladies’ upset was a very staunch and resilient defense that held Cal to only 39.2 percent from the field despite allowing 17 offensive rebounds. The Lady Griffins were also a perfect 11-11 from the charity stripe.

Coach Labati’s squad also dismantled Bluefield State on the road, 90-45, on January 11. Burkes led 12 different scorers with 15 points.

The Lady Griffins shot 52.4 percent from three for the game including 11 of 16 in the first half while holding their opponent to a paltry 31.6 percent from the field.