xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Harrison, Lee bounce back to lift Mount St. Mary’s women’s basketball to 68-55 win over Fairleigh Dickinson

EMMITSBURG — Michaela Harrison and Rebecca Lee slogged through arguably their worst performances of the season in the Mount St. Mary’s women’s basketball team’s series-opening loss to Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday night. The duo ensured there would not be a repeat Friday afternoon.

Harrison, a junior point guard, and Lee, a senior center, scored 21 of their combined 29 points in the second half to power the Mountaineers to a 68-55 victory over the visiting Knights at Knott Arena.

Advertisement

Redshirt senior shooting guard Kendall Bresee earned her sixth double double of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds and added four assists and four steals. And senior shooting guard Bridget Birkhead chipped in 10 points to help Mount St. Mary’s (7-4, 6-2 Northeast Conference). The host also avoided what would have been its first series sweep of the season after Thursday’s 59-54 setback to Fairleigh Dickinson (8-5, 4-4).

“We all know we didn’t play well last night,” said Harrison, who also had three assists and two rebounds. “We played probably the worst we could have played. So I think once we hit that point, we know we’re not going to play that bad two games in a row. There’s just no way. We really locked in on defense this game in the second half. We just dug deep and stayed with each other, and I think that was the main thing. We know we can’t play as bad as we did yesterday. So we just figured it out from there.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Harrison experienced the wildest of swings. She scored only one point Thursday night and failed to make a shot from the floor for the first time since Dec. 16, 2018 against Virginia Tech. On Friday, she scored a team-high 17 points, including 11 in the third and fourth quarters.

Harrison, a member of the preseason All-Northeast Conference team, credited her improved outing to her “teammates finding me and me not thinking so much.”

“Yesterday, I had a rough game,” she said. “I was just hesitant, especially in the second half. My teammates just kept commenting to me, ‘Keep shooting the ball. Don’t worry about it. Forget about it.’ So today was more so not being so hard on myself mentally. Just play the game and let it come to me.”

Harrison’s fortitude impressed coach Maria Marchesano.

Advertisement

“Michaela’s a tough kid, especially mentally,” she said. “She knows she had a rough game yesterday. She wanted to bounce back not for her, but for the team. She’s an unselfish kid, and she wanted to come back and have a better day today. We told her, ‘We believe in you. Late in the game whether you’re on fire or not, you’ve got to take those shots,’ and today, she stepped up and hit some big ones for us.”

Leading 29-25 at halftime, the Mountaineers outscored the Knights, 21-13, in the third quarter thanks to Lee. The 6-foot-2 Severn resident and Old Mill graduate scored 10 of her 12 points during a five-minute, 46-second stretch of that period in which Mount St. Mary’s turned a 31-27 lead into a 45-33 advantage.

“I really stick to my role, and if there’s something that I can get to help my teammates, I’ll do it,” said Lee, who scored only two points in less than 10 minutes of playing time on Thursday night. “But if not, that might not be my game.”

Marchesano said Lee is capable of such dramatic reversals.

“Becks has earned the respect of everyone in the league, and she doesn’t know what defenses are going to throw at her night in and night out,” she said. “Yesterday, right off the bat, they started doubling her. Today, they didn’t double her. They did at times, but she took advantage of the one-on-one matchups today and really scored. But also what she did today was, she found her teammates with a couple of really good passes. We may or may not have hit those shots, but as a coaching staff, we see her composed under the rim, scoring, and finding her teammates, and we’ve got to have her out there. She’s awesome defensively and rebounds the ball for us.”

Aside from Bresee, the Mountaineers had four different players finish in double digits in scoring in two games against Fairleigh Dickinson, and Marchesano did not hesitate to play a trio of freshmen in point guard Jessica Tomasetti (two points and two assists), center Isabella Hunt (two points and two assists) and point guard Jada Lee (three rebounds and two assists) often in the second half to give the starters some rest.

“At one point in the past, I’d get nervous taking some of those girls out of the game whether it was Kendall or Mick or [redshirt sophomore shooting guard] Aryna [Taylor],” she said. “Today, I went to three freshmen at once, and I said, ‘I’ve got fresh legs in there. Give us a spark.’ And sure enough, those three freshmen gave us a huge spark off the bench late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter.”

Knights senior power forward Madison Stanley led all scorers with a game-high 21 points, and sophomore small forward Maria Roters enjoyed a rare triple double on the strength of 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. But that pair also accounted for 10 of the Knights’ 19 turnovers, which the Mountaineers converted into 25 points.

“Defensively, we made some adjustments,” Marchesano said. “Digging on their post players caused them to turn the ball over a lot. We got out in transition a little bit more. I wouldn’t say faster because yesterday we played fast at times, but we had more continuity to us. But it was definitely the adjustments we made on defense. There were a few adjustments on ball screens that we made, digging on their posts. We forced them into turnovers, and yesterday, we didn’t make them pay for them. I think yesterday we forced them into even more turnovers than we did today, but today, we capitalized on them, and I think that was a huge difference.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement