After being tied at halftime a strong second half defensive performance propelled the Moberly Area Community College Lady Greyhounds, who are now ranked 5th nationally, to a 72-55 victory over Penn Valley Community College on Tuesday night as they improved to 26-0 on the season.
MACC trailed 11-10 midway through the first quarter, but used an 8-0 run spearheaded by Lunden Henry, who had two baskets and an assist, to take what would be their largest lead of the first half. The Lady Greyhounds eventually led 20-15 heading into the second quarter.
Penn Valley took advantage of their 11 free throw attempts in the second period of play, scoring nine of their 20 points in the quarter at the charity stripe as they tied the game at 35 going into halftime.
“We battled a little bit of foul trouble in the first half,” said MACC head coach Chad Killinger. “Anisha (George), Lunden, and Sentreal (Gregory) all had two fouls, but our biggest issue was not finishing in the paint. We were able to get the ball inside, but we rushed our attempts or tried to avoid contact on a lot of them.”
George connected on two quick baskets to start the third quarter and a three point play by Alexis Henry, followed by fast break lay-up from Angelica Wiggins completed a 9-1 run for MACC as they lead 44-36 near the seven minute mark of the quarter.
Penn Valley would trim their deficit to four before Brianna Perry knocked down a three point field goal and Wiggins connected on five straight points to give the Lady Greyhounds a 56-47 lead at the end of three quarters of play.
MACC took their first double digit lead of the contest early in the fourth quarter as George converted an offensive rebound put back and Gregory scored off an assist from Perry to give the Lady Greyhounds a 60-49 lead.
Penn Valley would get no closer than 12 points the remainder of the contest as MACC held them without a field goal over the final four minutes of the game.
The Lady Greyhounds limited Penn Valley to just 20 points in the second half, forcing 17 turnovers over the final 20 minutes of action, and holding the Lady Scouts to five of 26 shooting from the field.
For the game the Lady Greyhounds shot 40 percent from the field, compared to 28 percent for Penn Valley. MACC also held a 52-37 rebounding advantage.
“We were able to be much more active in the second half defensively,” said Killinger. “Our defense did a nice job of keeping them from getting into a rhythm and we got offensive production from several different people.”
Four players reached double figures for the Lady Greyhounds, led by 16 points from George. She also had seven rebounds. Alexis Henry recorded her second double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with four steals.
Wiggins finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Perry scored 11 points and registered four assists and three steals. Jocelyn Taylor just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. She recorded a game high five steals.
Lunden Henry led MACC with 11 rebounds, while netting six points. Gregory rounded out the scoring for the Lady Greyhounds with eight points.
MACC will resume Missouri Community College Athletic Conference and NJCAA Region 16 play this weekend when they host State Fair at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Lady Greyhounds have clinched at least a share of the MCCAC title and first round bye in the Region 16 tournament.