NW defense shuts down Lady Bombers
Northwestern's Sarah Segan (13) goes in for an uncontested layup with Palmerton's Emelie Meinhart coming up from behind. Segan scored 17 points and the Tigers went on to win, 51-33. RICH GEORGE/Special to THE TIMES NEWS
On a soccer field, the offensive prowess of Northwestern's Sarah Segan is legendary.
Tuesday night, the Tigers' multi-sport athlete showed that she can defend with the best of them as well.
Segan traded in her soccer cleats for a pair of basketball sneakers a few weeks ago. The Tigers' striker and the Colonial League's leading goal scorer this past fall, she also changed her focus when she hit the hard court.
With Segan leading the way, Northwestern put the defensive clamps on Palmerton and rolled to a 51-33 victory.
"I love playing defense," said Segan. "When coach (Chris) Deutsch told me I would be watching Jade (Farquhar) I was excited. I knew she was a great player and that I'd really have to focus on doing my job and keeping the ball out of her hands.
"I love the job of watching the other team's top player. I look forward to the challenge of trying to shut down great players."
It was a challenge that Segan was up to last night. Farquhar finished with just nine points and all but two of the points came in the later stages of the game after the Tigers had built a commanding 25-point lead.
"I thought the key for us tonight was the defensive job Sarah Segan did on Farquhar," said Deutsch. "Farquhar is one of the top players in the league. Our goal tonight was to hold her under 15 points and Sarah was a huge reason why we were able to accomplish that.
"We told Sarah we wanted to keep the ball out of Farquhar's hands and make someone else beat us and she did a great job of doing that."
But Segan wasn't strictly a defensive stopper, as she has displayed the last two years on the soccer field, she knows a little bit about offense as well.
Segan scored a team-high eight first half points as Northwestern gradually built a 22-12 lead.
After Palmerton's Emelie Meinhart opened the second half with a basket to pull the Bombers within eight points, the Tigers went on a 17-point run to blow the game open.
Segan had seven points in the spurt, Sara Jones had six and Trista Cunningham added the other four. By the time Palmerton scored again, Northwestern had increased its lead to 39-14.
"Northwestern is a great team and Chris (Deutsch) does an outstanding job coaching them," said Palmerton coach Don Delich. "They didn't do anything we didn't expect, they just executed what they did very well.
"We were struggling offensively, but still managing to stick around in the first half. I thought the key was when they switched to their jump-and-run defense in the third quarter. They executed it really well, forced us into a lot of mistakes, and got the tempo up to their liking."
If there was a bright spot for the Bombers it came after they fell behind by 25 points.
Thanks to a mini-eruption by Farquhar and some key baskets by Morgan Mummey and Meinhart, Palmerton went on a run of its own. The Bombers outscored Northwestern 19-4 to pull to within 43-33 with 3:22 still remaining.
"I guess the bright side is that our girls sucked it up, showed a lot of pride and were able to find some success in the fourth quarter," said Delich.
Northwestern's Deutsch also found a bright spot in the Bombers' late game run.
"We got a little sloppy and Palmerton has a nice team and made us pay for that," said Deutsch. "The good thing is that we responded when the game started to get a little tight.
"I thought we did a nice job of spreading the court, forcing them to foul, and then converting our free throws. That's something good teams need to do in close games."
Jones finished with a game-high 18 points for the Tigers (5-0, 3-0). Segan added 17 points, Cunningham had eight points and eight rebounds, and Kaleen Suter hauled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
For Palmerton (3-2, 1-2), Meinhart had team-high totals of 10 points and nine rebounds.
Mertz 0-2-2-2, Landrigan 0-0-0-0, Day 0-0-0-0, Jones 9-0-2-18, Suter 2-0-0-4, Segan 7-2-3-17, Koenig 0-0-0-0, Bennett 0-0-0-0, Thomas 1-0-0-2, Cunningham 3-2-2-8. TOTALS: 22-6-9-51.
Krupa 0-1-2-1, Ma. Mummey 2-0-0-4, Farquhar 4-0-0-9, Mo. Mummey 3-0-0-7, Tracy 0-0-0-0, Meinhart 4-2-2-10, Solt 1-0-5-2, Reimer 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-3-9-33.
Northwestern 8 14 19 10 - 51
Palmertron 6 6 14 7 - 33
Three-pointers: NW - Segan 1. Palmerton - Farquhar 1, Mo. Mummey 1.