Tiger balance too much for NL
bob ford/times news Northwestern's Sarah Segan (52) drives past Northern Lehigh defender Tina Bastardi.
Chris Deutsch was tired of hearing it.
"When I hear about Northwestern, I hear a lot of people say we are a one-player team," Deutsch said. "It's Sara Jones and nobody else that's not true."
Thursday night, in a showdown with Colonial League rival Northern Lehigh, Jones lived up to her credentials.
It was the contributions by a number of other Tiger players, however, that made sure Jones big game wasn't wasted. Thanks to all their efforts, Northwestern was to post a 48-36 victory over the Bulldogs.
The last time the Tigers were victorious against their North Division foe was during the 2007-08 season.
For the Tigers' core of seniors Caleigh Landrigan, Emma Kemmerer, Sam MacLaughlin, Jess Albright, Taylor Dietrich and Jenn Nemes it was the first victory of their careers against Northern Lehigh.
"We tried so hard each time," said Landrigan, who matched Jones' 11-point effort to tie for a team-high. "We lost to them so many times before. So it just felt really good to actually win this time, especially with it being my senior year."
In the first quarter, six different Tigers rippled the chords to give the visitors a 14-9 lead after one. Aimee Oertner spearheaded the Bulldogs' attack with five.
Things slowed down offensively a bit in the second quarter when Landrigan and MacLaughlin accounted for all but one of the Tigers' 10-points, while the Tigers' defense held Oertner to three points. The 'Dawgs' Kelsey Follweiler added two layups as Tigers took a 24-17 lead into halftime.
After half, the Bulldogs found a way to beat the Tigers' combination of a 1-3-1 or 2-3 defense to get the ball into Oertner, who went off to score 12 of her game-high 24 points in the period.
But the Tigers' balanced scoring attack answered that with just enough firepower of their own to prevent the Bulldogs from taking over the lead. Oertner hit a left-handed layup with 3:15 left in the third quarter to pull the Bulldogs within three (30-27), but that's as close as the hosts would get.
"To have seven girls score and two in double figures, that's a lot of balance," Deutsch said. "I continue to hear people say you got to stop Jones and you can beat Northwestern, but that's not true as we have other girls that can step up and tonight they showed that."
Meanwhile, Northern Lehigh needs to find other girls to step up.
"Until our kids show they can score, they're going to take Aimee away," Bulldog coach Dave Oertner said. "We knew that was going to happen and every team is going to do that to us. It's something we're going to have to deal with.
"Once our other kids get a little bit more confidence and start making shots, others teams will have to do something different. But, until we prove it, that's going to happen."
Mertz 2-4-6-8, Landrigan 4-2-2-11, Jones 3-4-10-11, Kemmerer 2-0-0-4, Nemes 0-0-0-0, McLaughlin 0-0-0-0, Lerner 0-0-0-0, Cunningham 2-1-2-5, Dietrich 0-0-0-0, Albright 0-0-0-0, Segan 2-1-3-5. TOTALS: 17-12-21-48.
Follweiler 2-4-6-8, Hams 0-0-0-0, Bastardi 2-2-2-6, Weil 0-0-0-0, Stauffer 0-0-0-0, Olewine 1-0-0-2, Tarafas 0-0-0-0, Bevans 0-0-0-0, Oertner 7-10-15-24. TOTALS: 12-12-17-36.
Northwestern 14 10 15 9 - 48
No. Lehigh 9 8 16 3 - 36
Three-pointers: NW - Landrigan 1, Jones 1; NL - none.