La Salle Offense Gets Rolling in the Second Half in a 72 – 56 Victory Over Duquesne
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/12/2023 –
The town is excited about the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Kickoff is a few hours away. So, Explorers coach Mountain MacGillivray injected some Eagles spirit into the team. And it became a Philly Thing for La Salle who defeats the Duquesne Dukes 72 – 56 at the Gola Arena to snap a three-game losing streak.
“I think for me being a local Philadelphian it has been really special seeing many of these kids who don’t have an interest on football, don’t have a particular team they root for or baseball. You get the Phillies in the World Series and everybody’s fired up for the Phillies. You get the Eagles into the Super Bowl, and everybody’s geeked up as I am. They didn’t know about the Eagles a couple of months ago. So the bandwagon is loaded up. They are a part of the city. Now, that’s so exciting for me as a Philadelphian to see kids from Australia and everywhere to have that.”
Guard Molly Masciantonio simply said “They all got their shirts.”
The La Salle Offense Emerges
The Explorers have experienced difficulty scoring over the past three games. The team averaged just over 43 points per game and shot in the low 30% range. It appeared early that it could continue. But in the second half the shots began to fall. In the fourth quarter the Explorers made 64% from the floor. Over the second half ten three-pointers went through the net. La Salle won the second half 45 – 32.
The half started with a three-pointer by Kayla Spruill which set the new school record of made three-pointers in a career. The old record was 208 by Jamie Walsh (2006-10). Spruill now has 210.
“Kayla’s a good player since she first got here,” Masciantonio said about her teammate. “It’s nice she got more recognition. She’s smooth for a reason. She puts the ball in the basket, and we’re all very happy for her.”
The three’s began to fall as the Explorers made 10 in the second half and 15 for the game. Generating offense gave the team a lift.
“Once we see the ball go in, we can take a breath,” Masciantonio said about making shots. “When everyone’s missing everyone’s trying to force shots., kind of shaky on shots. When the ball goes in everyone takes a breather, takes better shots, and plays ball together.”
Coach MacGillivray believed the shots would fall, and today showed that belief.
“We were averaging 68 points in the non-conference,” said MacGillivray. “The wheels went one went left, one right, one was flat. That’s part of the season. But they didn’t waiver. They brought energy and laughter and life into every practice, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Defense A Big Part of the Win
Over the time when the offense was struggling, the defense was still there. Duquesne was held to 17 of 53 for the game (32.1%). The Dukes also could not capitalize on trips to the foul line as they connected on 17 of 30.
“Defense leads to offense,” said Masciantonio. “Keep up our defensive parts because we’ll see the ball go in. Especially this game it has, so it really helped that our defense played a huge role in today’s game.”
What the Numbers Say
Spruill led La Salle with 13 points. Masciantonio scored 12. She committed one turnover and handed out 6 assists. The graduate student is tops in the nation with an assist to turnover ratio of 4.33. Mia Jacobs added 12 points and a team-high 8 rebounds.
Precious Johnson headed Duquesne with a game-high 15 points, and she pulled down 7 rebounds. Megan McConnell pulled down a game-best 10 caroms. She recorded multiple triple-doubles this season, but in this game McConnell scored 4 points.
La Salle (15 – 11, 6 – 5) hosts Fordham at 11 AM on Thursday. The Rams are currently tied for third place in the Atlantic 10. The Explorers are knocking on the door for 7th place in the conference.
Written By: Glenn Papazian