For The Dialog
WILMINGTON – Top-ranked Ursuline turned it on in the fourth quarter to beat the No. 5 St Elizabeth, 56-30, on Jan. 4. The Raiders ended the game on a 25-4 run after the Vikings closed it t0 31-26 late in the third quarter.
Junior forward Oliva Mason scored 14 points, while Maggie Connelly added 14. Mason credited her guards Alisha Lewis and Connelly for her strong play recently.
“It’s really nice because they set you up with awesome passes and I’m just in the right place at the right time,” she said.
Coach John Noonan has been working on her offense lately in practice and it has shown the last couple of games.
“Olivia is really good defensively, so we spend time working on her footwork and her finishing,” Noonan said.
The Raiders started on a 8-0 run as Connelly hit two triples. The Vikings responded as Alexis Lee hit two layups, and Julie McCarron drained a pair of free throws. The Vikings trailed, 15-13, at the end of the first quarter. Mason had a strong second quarter, scoring eight points, and the Raiders extended their lead to 27-19.
The Vikings took advantage of a struggling Ursuline offense in the third quarter. Lexi Broomwell hit a three-pointer, and Speaks scored on a putback to cut the Raiders lead to 31-26 with 1:52 left in the third quarter. Connelly then hit the biggest shot of the game, a three-pointer that sparked the Raiders’ offense heading into the fourth quarter.
Yanni Hendley scored six of her eight points in the fourth quarter, including a big three-pointer, to extend the Raiders lead to 42-26. The Raiders’ defense picked up its intensity in the fourth quarter and a few steals led to some layups for Lewis. Then Lewis threw a long baseball pass that hit Mason in stride for a layup and a 50-28 lead.
The Raiders(7-1) were worried about this game, especially a conference game on the road.
“I always worry about any conference game, especially St Elizabeth because they’re a really good basketball team,” Noonan said. “We told the kids at halftime this isn’t an Xs and Os thing – it’s all about hustle, intensity and matching their effort. We were lethargic early, but we settled in.”
The Raiders host Archbishop John Carroll (Pa.) on Monday at 6 p.m. The Vikings (2-5) got 12 points from Speaks and will travel to Padua on Saturday for a 1:45 p.m. tip.