Pepper Pike, OH - Most coaches are not sure what exactly to expect from their team on opening night. For Geneva women′s head coach Ron Galbreath, it′s the 35th time in his career he has endured those feelings about the start of a basketball season. This season′s opener was especially stressful since his Golden Tornadoes were opening the season on the road and against a conference opponent. All of that anxiety went away following a season opening 75-62 victory for Geneva against Ursuline College. While Geneva walked away from its season opener with a victory, it was Ursuline′s first loss in three games in the early season.
"It′s a great feeling to get a solid, team victory in the season opener," said Galbreath. "We got some top notch contributions from our bench and I was really proud of the way our ladies rebounded in the second half after falling behind. It was a great way to start the season."
Galbreath watched his team fall to a 37-34 halftime deficit against Ursuline before rallying back by outscoring the Arrows 41-25 in the final 20 minutes. Geneva shot 47% from the field for the game and it was the balanced scoring attack from the Golden Tornadoes that ultimately made the difference.
Allyson Clarke led Geneva′s offensive attack with 17 points, while Renee Rawding chipped in with 11 points in her first collegiate game without big sister and all-time leading scorer, Jen Rawding, by her side. Off the bench, Lauren Uranker provided a huge spark with 14 points, including 4-7 shooting from behind the three point arc. Meanwhile, Michawn Rich contributed with ten points and a team best six rebounds in her collegiate debut.
Geneva′s second half comeback included a team shooting percentage of 55%, while holding Ursuline to just seven field goals and 25 points. "We really stepped up our defense in the second half, which in turn helped us gain more consistency on the offensive end of the floor," said Galbreath. The victory was the 590th career win in the legendary career of Ron Galbreath.
The Golden Tornadoes will play a pair of games this weekend at the Malone College Tournament. Geneva will meet Goshen College on Friday before matching up against the host Pioneers on Saturday afternoon.