Crimson Scores Last 7 Points for a 73 – 70 Win Over the Hawks
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/28/2021 –
It was not the expected game, it was to be the first round of the Hawks Classic. That four team holiday tournament was cancelled as COVID is wreaking havoc with public health and game schedules. Harvard was going to participate and was in town, so Saint Joe’s played them. In an entertaining game the Crimson rallied late and took back to Boston a 73 – 70 victory.
“I think we were excited to play,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “You’re idle for so long, and were just trying to figure it out. You knew you were going to be playing, you just didn’t know who. You have to be ready to play regardless of who it is.”
The Hawks got off to a good start and took a double-digit in the first quarter. The Crimson tied the game at intermission. Saint Joe’s got valuable contributions from freshman in the second half, and it was almost enough.
In the third quarter Harvard evened the game at 48. Hawks freshman forward Talya Brugler answered scoring 7 straight points to give her team a 55 – 48 lead. She got 13 points for Saint Joe’s.
“She came in and gave us some great minutes,” Griffin said about the play of Brugler. “Her versatility came through. She is great moving without the ball, never idle, always moving and in the right place at the right time.”
The trend continued in the fourth quarter. The score was knotted at 62 with just under five minutes left to play. Guard Julia Nystrom, a first year player, sank two three-pointers around a Harvard basket, to give SJU a 68 – 64 lead. Nystrom scored a career-high 18 points making 6 of 11 from the floor and 4 of 7 from beyond the arc.
“It was great to see Julia put the ball in the basket,” Griffin said. “It will help us moving forward.”
“Those two three’s were huge, they were momentum swings for us,” said Griffin. “But we have to be able to defend. They came back and kept attacking. We didn’t do enough defensively.”
With just over a minute and a half remaining on the clock Kaliah Henderson made a layup and Saint Joe’s had a 70 – 66 advantage. But that would be the last points the home team would score.
McKenzie Forbes drained a basket form distance. Lola Mullaney scored on a fast break off a turnover and the lead went to the Crimson. The Hawks had chances, but two shots in close did not fall. With under a second to play Mullaney converted two free throws for the final margin of victory. Brugler put up a desperation three-pointer that was way off the mark to end the game.
“We had control of the game until the last two minutes,” said Griffin. “It was anybody’s game. A play here and a play there. We gave up transition easy baskets at the end, and weren’t able to convert two layups in the paint. That was the game right there.”
Saint Joseph’s had two other players score in double-figures. Katie Jekot contributed 13 points and handed out a career-high 8 assists. She also pulled down a team-best 6 rebounds. Henderson added 11 points.
Harvard Freshman Harmoni Turner scored a game-high 25 points converting 10 of 16 field goal attempts, and was good on 4 of 6 three’s. Mullaney scored 16 points while guard Tess Sussman added 12 points.
Saint Joseph’s returns to Atlantic 10 play on New Year’s Day at Saint Bonaventure. At this time that game is still on the schedule. While this game was being played numerous postponements and cancellations were announced. The Hawks will try to stay the course.
“I thought we were out of these pause situations, but it seems like we are back to where we were last year,” Griffin said. “You don’t have control over it. You can only do what you can do. At this point in time you want to play games and control what you can control.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian