Balance Keys First Win Of The Season For Saint Joseph’s Women

PHILADELPHIA, November 13, 2011 – The Saint Joseph’s Women’s Basketball team got its first win of the season in its home opener 66 – 48 over Lehigh at the Hagan Arena.  The Hawks used balance to get the win playing an aggressive defensive game, and had nine players score on offense.  Senior Guard Katie Kuester the Crimson and Grey with 14 points and fellow Senior Guard Michelle Baker added 13.

Katie Kuester

“When nine players score, you cannot ask for more,” said Kuester.  “We’re really deep this year and to take advantage of that is something we need to do.  Our goal each game is to try and score 70 points, and we got close, were very efficient, and that helps a lot.”

Saint Joseph’s needed a good defensive effort and got it against the Mountain Hawks.  The defensive effort held Lehigh to 29% shooting (14 – 48).  The Hawks defense was especially effective in the first half as Lehigh made just 4 of 24 shots (16.7%).  Lehigh committed 18 turnovers in the game as Saint Joseph’s had 11 steals. Junior Forward Mireia Vila was responsible for 4 steals.  The Hawks utilized the turnover edge to get a 19 – 5 edge in Points Off Turnovers.

“We’re a defensive minded team, that’s what comes first and that’s what we thrive upon,” Kuester said.  “If we can get a team to score under 50 points, that’s a great day for us.”The first half also saw Saint Joseph’s get a rebounding advantage of 25 – 16 which allowed the team to control the pace of the game.  Tempo was a key factor in giving Saint Joseph’s a lead they maintained throughout the game.

Cindy Griffin
“We set the tone early on being aggressive, and I thought that it really helped us gain momentum in getting some easy looks in transition,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “It loosened up the kids up a little bit.  Lehigh missed a lot of layups in that stretch and we capitalized on that.  Holding them to one shot helped us to get out on the break.  Offensive rebounds and threes in our game is like men’s dunks, they’re momentum builders.  We were active and I was happy with that.”

Lehigh made a run at Saint Joseph’s in the second half, but would get no closer than 12 points as Saint Joseph’s was able to handle the defensive pressure of Lehigh.  The Hawks commited 11 turnovers in the game, just 4 in the second half.

On the other side of the floor Saint Joseph’s shot 41.8% for the game (28 – 67), and made 6 of 14 Three-Point shots.  Nine players scored in the game led by Kuester who made 6 of 10 shots, 2 of 4 from distance.  Baker made 6 of 15 and went 1 – 2 from the free throw line.  The Hawk Bench contributed 22 of the 66 points led by Vila with 7 points and 7 rebounds 4 were offensive rebounds.  Sophomore Forward Ashley Robinson contributed 6 points and 10 rebounds, and Sophomore Guard Kasie Parker added 5 points.  Lehigh in contrast got 6 points from the bench.

“I challenge them (the bench) to out-score the other team’s bench, and we need to rely on that,” Griffin said.  “It is important that our bench is productive, so when we get into Atlantic 10 play we can depend on them.”

Forward Alexa Williams led Lehigh with 14 points and pulled down 7 rebounds.  Guard Hilary Weaver scored 11, and Forward Sarah Pearce added 10.

Saint Joseph’s is 1 – 1 on the season.  The Hawks will go to the TD Bank Classic to play Dartmouth and Vermont over the weekend.  The Hawks bounced back from its opening game loss, and avenged last year’s loss to Lehigh.  It is early in the season, but the Crimson and Grey needed the win.

“It (the win) means a lot to us,” said Kuester.  “Princeton was a tough game, and to have a quick turnaround, it’s great for morale and gets us going.”

And a good balance of offense and defense got it for them.


Written By:  Glenn Papazian


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