GWU women pull away from NC Central, 54-32
The Gardner-Webb offense struggled, but the defense picked up the slack as the Lady Bulldogs pulled away from the winless North Carolina Central Eagles 54-32 Saturday afternoon at Paul Porter Arena.
That defense forced 22 turnovers, blocked 12 shots and garnered five shot-clock violations in the win.
While coach Rick Reeves was pleased with the defensive effort, he admits that the offense needs to improve.
“I’m really proud of the defense, but the offense needs work,” he said. ”Central deservers a lot of the credit. They did a good job taking the air out of the ball, but I honestly think we played down to the level of our opponent today.”
The win is the Lady Bulldogs second in a row and moves GWU over the .500 mark at 6-5 on the year.
The game began sloppily for both teams as the only bucket in the game’s first four minutes was a Catrina Green layup. The Lady Bulldogs defense did force two shot-clock violations in that stretch as they led 2-0.
That lead was doubled on a Doreen Richardson basket, but neither team could hit a basket for the next two minutes of action until Jasmine Dale canned a three to put the home team up 7-0 with 12 minutes left in the first half.
Amber Neely accounted for the first NCCU field goal with a runner and that sparked a 6-0 run by the Lady Eagles. GWU answered with outside shots from Dale and Lana Doran.
From that point, GWU began to pull away from the undermanned Lady Eagles.
By the time Doran converted a fast break layup and Alisha Quinn garnered an offensive rebound and put back, GWU led 22-10. The Lady Bulldogs then scored the next seven points highlighted when Doran banked in a shot from beyond the arc. NCCU closed the half on a 4-0 run to close the half but GWU still led 29-14 at the break.
GWU continued to rely on their defense to start the second half.
Candace Brown got her hand in the passing lane and as a result converted two fast break layups. Neely answered with a three for NCCU but Brown knocked down a baseline jumper as GWU led 35-17 The teams then went on a long stretch of trading baskets as GWU still led 38-21 at the 12:09 mark of the second half.
Tabby Koerner hit turnaround jumper moments later and Brown did the same as the Lady Bulldogs grabbed their biggest lead of the game at 42-22.
Koerner then found Dornan on a length of the floor pass that resulted in a 22-point lead. As the lead was growing, the defense continued to play well, blocking several shots and forcing yet another shot clock violation. As a result, GWU led 52-26 at the final media timeout.
The Lady Bulldogs only netted one field goal in the final minutes, a jumper from walk on Monica Compton. Neely scored three baskets late but by that time GWU had a comfortable lead and took home the 54-32 win.
Brown led three Lady Bulldogs in double figures with 13 points while Neely had 11 for NCCU.