WILMINGTON — Saint Mark’s placed three scorers in double figures, pulling away from Padua in the second quarter on the way to a 51-34 win over the Pandas on Jan. 14.
Emily Trainer got the Pandas on the board first with a layup off a spin move early in the first, and two free throws with 5 minutes to go in the first put the hosts on top, 4-3. But Sophia Messick answered with a three-point shot, but Padua took its last lead with 3:15 to go on a nice runner from Grace Trerotola, who was fouled and would complete the three-point play.
The Spartans brought Alyssa Cresto off the bench, and she made a six-foot runner on her first shot, giving Saint Mark’s the lead it would not relinquish. Padua used its height advantage to get multiple offensive rebounds, which allowed them to stay close for a while. The Spartans ended the first with a 14-11 lead.
Cresto began the second with a triple from the top of the arc, and Lenick added a pair of free throws after going the length of the floor after intercepting a pass and getting fouled as she attempted a shot. Natalia Frabizzio ended a seven-point Saint Mark’s run with a short field goal.
The Spartans, with senior point guard Ava Berardi back after she missed the first game, took an 11-point lead into the half. Aside from that Cresto three, the Spartans’ other four second-quarter field goals came on cuts down the middle.
The Spartans opened up a 15-point advantage before Padua’s Bridget Casey and Kylie Moor hit back-to-back shots, and a three-pointer from Moor finished a 7-2 stretch that brought the Pandas back to within 10 at 35-25. But Cresto would drain two more triples in short order, and the Spartans took a 12-point advantage into the final stanza.
Padua struggled on the offensive end in the fourth, and the Spartans, holding a comfortable lead, added a few points to their lead.
Cresto finished with a game-high 15 points. Messick had 14, and Lenick added 10. The Spartans (1-1) have their home opener on Saturday, when they welcome MOT Charter for a 1 p.m. start.
Kylie Moore led the Pandas (0-2) with nine points. They host Conrad on Saturday, also at 1 p.m.