Allegheny women’s basketball falls in back to back games in NCAC play


Amasa Smith

Jessica Mrdjenovich, ’16, works to defend against Wittenberg on Saturday, Feb. 7. The Gators fell 70-59 to the Tigers. The women will take on Ohio Wesleyan University on Saturday Feb. 14 in the Wise Center.

The Wittenberg Tigers came to visit the Allegheny women’s basketball team last Saturday. Wittenberg, ranked second in the NCAC, claimed victory against the Gators after a late rally in the second half. The Gators had two players in double figures.

Jessica Mrdjenovich, ’16, led the team with 16 points. Mrdjenovich was 4-of-10 from the field, while also spreading the wealth offensively by bringing in assists during the game. Marina Scarantino, ’15, followed Mrdjenovich in points with a total of 12 points in the game.

The Tigers gave Allegheny easy points with 21 turnovers in the game. This opened the door for the Allegheny offense as they scored a total of 18 points in the paint. The first half of the game consisted of both teams exchanging leads and buckets.

“We played really well the first half of the game, everything was really clicking offensively and defensively,” Mrdjenovich said. “We were all playing really well as a team to work the ball around and find the open shots for one another.”

The Gators took charge by going on a 10-4 run during the first half. Kendall Hoffman, ’15, sealed the 10-4 run with a free throw followed by a jumper from Scarantino which made the score 26-23 with eight minutes left in the half.

“We were using each others strengths to find shots in the first half,” Emma Pellicano, ’16, said.

Allegheny scored easily off of turnovers from the Tigers allowing them to command the game and take a six point lead with five minutes left. The Gators maintained the lead eventually gaining a 10 point lead over the Tigers going into the second half.

Coming into the second half, the Tigers came out of the locker room with a tight defense. Wittenberg eventually trimmed the lead, going on a 15-5 run. The Tigers robbed the Gators of the lead putting the score at 47-46 early in the half.

“In the second half, Witt began hitting us with a press that we had a lot of trouble breaking. Basketball’s a game of momentum and they maintained the momentum throughout the second half,” Mrdjenovich said.

Wittenberg continued to play strong defense throughout the game forcing Allegheny turnovers. The 22 percent second half field goal percentage the Gators had is a testament to the Tigers’ tight defense Wittenberg took a 8 point lead over Allegheny with just eight minutes left in the game.

“Our team had great chemistry in the first half. Wittenberg played really hard in the second we were unable to penetrate their defense,” Iffie Uwazie, ’16, said.

In an attempt to make a comeback, the Gators posted their best offense late in the second half. Allegheny was down by 8 points before a three point shot from Scarantino began to cut the lead down. Kaitlyn Fromknecht, ’16, scored back-to-back jumpers closing the gap down to just four points with four minutes left in the game.

“They went on a run and we had no counter,” Pellicano said.

Wittenberg tightened up their defense shutting down Allegheny. The Gators only scored one point in the remaining four minutes of the game, finishing the game out with a final score of 70-59 and a Wittenberg win.

“We’re forgetting about all the past games and focusing on each game as it comes,” Mrdjenovich said. “The next four games are each extremely important as they will determine our ranking in the conference tournament. So we’re going into Oberlin looking to play lockdown defense and come out with the win.”

The Gators fell 75-72 to the Oberlin Yeowomen on Wed. Feb.11th, although all of the Allegheny starters finished in double figures. These two back-to-back losses caused Allegheny to fall to 6th place in the NCAC conference.

The Gators are scheduled to play Ohio Wesleyan University here in Meadville on Saturday Feb. 14.