For The Dialog
WILMINGTON – Michelle Kozicki scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half to lead seventh-ranked Padua past rival St Mark’s, 40-33, on Feb. 6.
The Spartans got on the board first as Delaney Carey scored on an old-fashioned three-point play. Then Donitella Shepherd hit a three-pointer, scored on a inside shot and added a free throw as the Spartans led, 9-3, early in the first quarter. Camryn Scully scored five first-quarter points for the Pandas, but they trailed, 13-8, at the end of the first quarter. The Spartans struggled from the field in the second quarter but went five of five from the free-throw line to extend the lead to 22-16 at the half.
Kozicki came out drawing fouls and converting at the line after the break. She hit five of six free throws to cut the St. Mark’s lead to 26-23. Spartans senior Kendra Schweizer stole the ball and coasted in for a layup and then scored on a jumper to give the Spartans a 30-27 lead heading into the final stanza.
The Pandas came out on fire, scoring the first seven points as Bella Julian hit a free throw, and Kozicki scored on a layup to tie it at 30. The next possession saw Paige Kenton drain a huge three-pointer and Brooke Emmi followed with a free throw for a 34-30 advantage. The Pandas’ defense did a great job, holding the Spartans to no field goals in the final quarter. St. Mark’s hit a pair of free throws to cut it to 34-32 before Scully added a critical layup to make it 36-32. Emmi and Kozicki made free throws to extend the lead to 38-32 with 15 seconds left. Schweizer nailed a free throw before Kenton scored on an offensive rebound to end the game.
The Pandas (12-5) got eight points each from Kenton and Scully. They host Concord next Monday night at 7:15. The Spartans (9-7) received eight points from Shepherd, while Schweizer and Carey added seven each. The Spartans travel to Ursuline on Friday for a 7 p.m. tip.