Pittsburgh, PA - In a game that featured four ties and 11 lead changes in the first half along, the Geneva College women′s basketball team managed to sprint out to a 16 point second half lead and hold on for dear life with a 71-70 victory over Chatham University. The victory ended a two-game slide for the Golden Tornadoes and pushed their overall record back up over .500 at 7-6.
Both teams shot the ball very well in the first half with Geneva taking a 37-35 lead into the locker room. In the second half, Geneva out scored Chatham 23-9 in the first eight minutes to extend the lead to 60-44. Chatham quickly cut the lead to just four by scoring 13 of the next fourteen points over the next three minutes. Geneva then extended the lead into double digits at the 5:46 mark on a jumper from Kristland McCracken. Geneva led by just two at 70-68 with less than three minutes to play. Following one made free throw from Valerie Hamilton, Chatham′s Kayla Hilko connected on a pair of free throws with one minute on the clock. A steal by Hamilton in the final seconds preserved the victory for the Golden Tornadoes and Chatham never got a chance to take the lead.
"The difference for us was our defense in the second half," said head coach Renee Drake. "We held their top two scorers to a combined six points in the second half which certainly allowed us a chance to win the game. We also kept our turnovers down (14) and did a much better job controlling the glass than we did in the last two games."
Scoring the basketball also made things easier for Geneva as they had combined for an average of just 36 points a game in their last three contests. Junior guard Beth DeLuca did her part to get Geneva out of its offensive slump with a team best 18 points including a 4-6 mark from three-point range. Leah Prisuta added 11 points and Christine Carugati accounted for ten in the victory. The Golden Tornadoes were 6-7 from beyond the three-point arc in the second half with five different players knocking down jump shots. "It was nice to see our shots begin to fall," said Drake. "Our defense was solid but it′s real tough to win at this level if you can′t score the basketball."
Geneva will try to ride its momentum into next week with home games against Grove City on Wednesday and Westminster on Saturday.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).