FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. –Messiah used a dominant second-half performance on Monday to defeat Virginia Wesleyan 68-49 in the second game of the Cruizin Classic. The win came after the Falcons were tied with the Marlins at the half, 29-29.
“Our first half was really good,” Messiah head coach Mike Miller said. “Our second half was even better. [Virginia Wesleyan] was a really good team, but we played a great half.”
The Falcons took advantage of Marlin turnovers with 11 points in the second half, and outscored their opponent 16-10 in the paint. On the defensive end, the Falcons made “only one or two” defensive mistakes, said Miller.
“After the first half, we really got a feel for what they were doing,” said Miller, whose team improves to 7-3 on the season. “They really wanted to execute the dribble-drive, and our perimeter defenders made really good adjustments for the last half of the game. They’re really athletic, but they couldn’t score.”
In keeping the Marlins restrained on the offensive end, the Falcons also managed to avoid Virginia Wesleyan’s fullcourt press. In turn, the Falcons were able to transition out of their defensive half into the fullcourt for fast-break points.
Junior Katelyn Vanderhoff proved effective in leading the Falcons’ transition, scoring 17 points in just 17 minutes in her second game of the season.
“Kate was comfortable today,” said Miller, whose Falcons defeated Manhattanville on Saturday in the Cruizin Classic. “It’s good to have her back on the floor, along with the other players that have been banged up [early in the season].”
Miller was also quick to highlight the interior play of juniors Dori Gyori and Kira Maier, who combined for 25 points and 14 rebounds from the forward spots.
“Kira and Dori were unbelievable today,” Miller said. “We pouded it inside to them, and they made great passes out of double-teams when the defense collapsed. Our offense was clicking well.”
Joining Vanderhoff, Gyori, and Maier in double-figures was sophomore guard Chelsea Danel who scored 10 points. Danel also grabbed six rebounds, as did Vanderhoff.
The Marlins (7-2) were led in the scoring by Sarah Seipp who scored 13 points. Jocelyn Spencer and Brittany Glasco each scored 10 points.