Lady Gators searching for a playoff spot

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By PETE JONES

Over winter break, the Gators escaped from the all-encompassing snow of Meadville to train in the Sunshine State.

In Florida, the team’s  performance quickly revealed that improvement was key.

The Gators lost their first game in the Land of Magic Classic to 16th–ranked Tuffs 83–69 and then were defeated once again in a blowout loss to Carroll 87–59. However, the Gators did not leave with discouragement, but instead, a sense of gratitude and realization.

AlleghenySports.com - Laura Magnelli, ’11, scored a season–high 14 points against the Kenyon Lords.

AlleghenySports.com - Laura Magnelli, ’11, scored a season–high 14 points against the Kenyon Lords.

“We learned from those games that we have to play together,” said Brittany Bell, ’10. “Florida really pointed out what we need to work on.”
“Losing that badly gave us motivation for conference play,” said senior forward Emilie Simone.

After returning to Meadville Jan. 2, the Gators geared up to face their conference rivals.

Defeating conference foe Oberlin in overtime and on the road proved a valuable and essential win in the Gators’ quest towards securing a home playoff game.

Bell was a three-point assassin, knocking down 6–of–10 from long range, tying her career-high of made three pointers. Three other Gators jotted serious ink in the scoring department: Laura Magnelli, ’11, finished with 10 points, Simone posted 13 points and Jill Gregory, ’11, scored 17 points.
However, the following road games resulted unfavorably.  The Gators made the long trek to Indiana, only to give Earlham their first and only conference victory. The loss could prove detrimental when the season concludes.

“Earlham was just one of those games,” said Head Coach Costanzo.

The Gators then traveled through the Snow Belt to Springfield, Ohio to battle the undefeated Wittenberg Tigers, a team comparable to the tough opponents faced in Florida.

But despite a similar result, one paramount variable changed – the Gators came to play.  The Allegheny women lost by ten; although it is a score which does not give an accurate depiction of the game’s competitiveness, it is an effort off of which the Gators are looking to build.

“We played well,” Costanzo said. “We just couldn’t get the defensive stops at the end.”

Home proved a needed refuge for a team who had become accustomed to traveling by bus on the day of competition.

Defeating Kenyon 55–46 was a needed win for both morale and conference standings. The Gators jumped out to an early 10–point lead and were able to withstand the Lords’ attempts to reenter the game. Point guard Brittni Mohney, ’11, recorded a game-high five assists while Magnelli dropped a team–high 14 points in the victory.

The struggles on the road continued this past weekendat Denison.  Although the women lost to a tough opponent 57-55, a glimmer of improvement was evident. The Gators led for the majority of the game, but turnovers emerged as a detrimental force.

“We crumbled at the end,” Bell said. “We need to take better care of the ball.”

Despite the loss, the game was a declaration to the NCAC that victory rests on the horizon for a team who has battled through hardship and subsequent defeat.

The Gators have a current record of 6-10 with a conference record of 3-4, ranking them 6th in the NCAC.  With more conference play on the horizon, the Gators will attempt to crack into the top four.

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