Senior guard Gemma Gray and sophomore forward Ariel Nickell combined for 41 points to lead the Alice Lloyd College Lady Eagles to a 76-66 victory over visiting Ohio Christian University yesterday.
In the opening half, both teams played evenly as neither side could grab any sort of advantage over the other. Consequently, at halftime the score was knotted at 34 apiece.
In the second half, the Eagles began to establish themselves with a fine display of teamwork. On the offensive end, Gray and Nickell provided their usual offensive punch. Toss in senior Sara Burchell’s floor game, coupled with a total team defensive effort, and the hosts were able to pull away over the final 20 minutes and earn the decisive victory.
For the victorious Eagles (2-14), Gray and Nickell were their usual dazzling selves on the offensive end as they provided 21 and 20 points, respectively. On defense, both stars really shone as Gray recorded an impressive 7 steals, while Nickell stuffed the stat sheet by adding 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists.
Sophomore guard Courtney Crowder chipped in with 9 points, 4 steals, and 3 assists, while reserve freshman forward Chelsea Brown came off the bench to provide a boost with 9 important points. Burchell led the way with 8 big assists.
With the loss, the Trailblazers fall to 8-7 on the season.
Alice Lloyd did receive some tough luck as freshman forward Hayley Smith, who has been providing excellent play, was placed on the disabled list after severely breaking her finger during practice on Friday. Eagles’ Coach John Mills hopes she will be cleared to return to the hardwood second semester, but no timetable for her return is known as of today.
More gloomy news came when sophomore center Laken Gilliam suffered what might be a torn ACL early in the Ohio Christian contest. If this prognosis proves to be true, then Gilliam may be lost for the remainder of the season.
After the game, Coach Mills commented, “I am very pleased with our effort tonight, and I feel that this may be our most complete game this season. We forced 25 turnovers on defense, and, while on offense, recorded 21 assists to just 13 turnovers.” Mills added, “Our girls will now get a much deserved rest. We have suffered many injuries already this season, and I am in hopes that we can be full strength or as close to it as possible for the stretch run.”