By Lisa Byers
Special to the Tribune
It’s no denying. The Allegheny women’s basketball team had a rough couple of days on the road last week.
But the Lady Gators knew following their 75-54 loss to Wittenberg on Saturday — their second loss in as many days by at least 20 points — that they could not allow those games to define their season.
Instead, they needed to serve as motivation and be yet another lesson learned by a young Gator squad.
Needless to say, the Lady Gators returned to action Wednesday night at the David V. Wise Center hungry for a win. And it was Oberlin paying the price.
Allegheny held Oberlin to just 12 points in the opening half on its way to a 58-43 win in North Coast Athletic Conference action.
“The weekend was brutal,” Allegheny coach Kate Costanzo said. “It was nice to see us respond and be able to pay attention to our scouting report.
“We knew No. 2 (Christina Marquette) for Oberlin scores 22 points a game. We held her to 11 points and we had a hand in her face on all of those shots. She didn’t get too much easy. That was our intent. We knew if we could hold her down we had a good chance of beating the team.”
Marquette scored 20 points against the Gators in Round 1 — a 58-47 win by the Yeowomen — back on Dec. 8. The Yeowomen as a team shot 45.5 percent from the field.
Last night was a much different result against Allegheny’s swarming defense.
The Yeowomen opened the contest just 1 of 11 and finished the opening half just 5 of 32 from the field. Oberlin was in single digits for the first 18 and a half minutes of the game.
The score was 24-6 in favor of Allegheny with 4:08 to play in the half. The Gators ended the half with a 20 point lead. Allegheny freshman forward Emma Pellicano had nine points at the break.
“During practice, we really emphasized defense,” Pellicano said. “Holding No. 2 to less than her average was our game plan.”
Allegheny’s halftime lead turned out to be pretty big. In fact, the second half belonged to Oberlin. The Yeowomen outscored the Gators 31-26 over the final 20 minutes.
Oberlin shot 50 percent from the field in the second half.
Allegheny opened the half with a 3-pointer by Kendall Hoffman to extend its lead to 23 (35-12), but Oberlin answered with an 8-2 run to pull to within 17 (37-20).
“It was a great defensive performance,” Constanzo said of the first half. “I would have liked to see it in the second half too. But that’s why basketball is two halves. Anything can happen.”
Allegheny moved to .500 with the win, improving to 7-7 overall and 3-3 in the NCAC, and is now alone in fourth place in the conference. Oberlin fell to 7-8 overall and 2-4 in the conference.
“The DePauw and Wittenberg trip … Both of those teams are very, very good,” Constanzo said. “That trip out there can be brutal. It’s good to see us respond like this and come back for a home game … We learn from each game.”
DePauw is the No. 1 ranked team in the country in NCAA Division III according to the USA TODAY Coaches and d3hoops.com polls. The Tigers beat Allegheny, 86-50, on Friday.
Pellicano finished last night’s game with a game-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds. Daryl Ford added 13 points, eight boards and four assists.
Ellen Neumann led Oberlin with 12 points. Marquette was 5 of 20 from the field and finished with 11 points.