Groninger wins in home debut

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

MURFREESBORO – Play 40 minutes every night.

That is the philosophy of first-year Chowan women’s basketball skipper Scott Groninger – and his team followed that philosophy from start to finish here Monday night as they routed Mary Baldwin College 92-62 in the Lady Braves’ home opener.

&uot;I thought we did well and stayed focused for the whole game, even though we were up by a lot in the second half,&uot; co-captain Kara Jackson said. &uot;I think it’s hard when you’re up by 25 to not settle for that and to continue to play for 40 minutes, but that’s what we did tonight.&uot;

Joi Hazel started the Lady Braves when she followed her own miss to put her team up 2-0. Her shot was followed quickly by a Jackson steal and pass to C.C. Vaughan who made the first of her 10 field goals on the night.

Tawana Tucker’s defensive rebound set up another Hazel hoop to push the Lady Braves to a 6-0 margin.

When the Lady Squirrel’s scored two minutes into the contest on a Lateasha Armstead basket to cut the lead to 6-2, it was the closest they would come all night.

The Lady Braves used a pressure defense to force 24 turnovers by the Lady Squirrel’s and they turned that advantage into an easy victory.

&uot;I think we played pretty well defensively,&uot; Vaughan, the Lady Braves’ other captain, said. &uot;We shared the ball well and played hard all night.&uot;

Nearly four minutes into the contest, the Lady Braves held a six point (10-4) advantage, but that was to be the tip of the iceberg. They rolled off an 18-3 streak that put the game away midway through the first half.

Hazel and Vaughan did the majority of the damage on the run as the former chipped in four points and the later six before Groninger brought in substitutes.

Those players continued the run as Christina Addison added four points and Rachel Simpson four before the streak was done. A pair of Lynn Malone free throws finally stopped the Chowan barrage, but it was only temporary as Vaughan and Hazel rolled off three straight buckets to give Chowan a 33-9 advantage with 7:53 to play in the first half.

Mary Baldwin did outscore the Lady Braves 13-10 the rest of the way, but a Kourtney McKay deuce with 22 seconds remaining in the half made sure Chowan led by 20-plus (43-22) at the break.

The Lady Braves gave more in the second period when they opened on a 10-0 run sparked by a Hazel three-pointer with only six ticks off the second half clock.

That shot was followed in succession by a Vaughan bucket, a Tucker hoop and a three-pointer from Vaughan to push the margin to 53-24.

The lead varied on the plus and minus side of 30 for the remainder of the contest with Mary Baldwin scoring on a Melissa Conyers jumper with 13 seconds remaining to trim the lead back to 30.

Groninger said he was glad to claim his first victory at the Helms Center in his first attempt and that he was pleased with his team’s effort.

&uot;We feel like with our depth, if we pressure full court for 40 minutes, our opponents will wear down,&uot; he said. &uot;Tonight is typical of the style we like to play.&uot;

The Lady Braves were led by Vaughan who tossed in 25 points while Hazel added 21 on the evening. Tucker and Addison added 14 each.

The Lady Braves, now 3-1 on the season, will play again on January 2 when they travel to Ocean City, Maryland for a holiday tournament.

Lady Braves (92)

CC Vaughan – 25, Joi Hazel – 21, Tawana Tucker – 14, Christina Addison – 14, Kourtney McKay – 8, Rachel Simpson – 4, Candice Fleming – 4, Kara Jackson – 2

Lady Squirrels (62)

Melissa Conyers – 18, Lateasha Armstead – 12, Alexis Conyers – 10, Katrina Scruggs – 8, Lynn Malone – 8, Moe Hardy – 4, Rayna Henry – 2