One of Meadville’s biggest attributes coming into the 2010-11 season, according to head coach Darryl Jones was his team’s ability to deliver both offensively and defensively from top to bottom.
But going into Monday’s Region 5 contest with Slippery Rock, Jones had yet to see the kind of all-around team effort he expected from Day 1. He got it last night.
Meadville forced 27 turnovers and five players scored at least seven points as the Bulldogs downed the defending Region 5 champion Rockets, 62-22, at the House of Thrills.
The Bulldogs improved to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the region. Slippery Rock fell to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in Region 5.
“We just played like a team (last night),” Meadville senior Erin Chandler said. “That’s what we need to keep doing and then we’ll win big games.”
The Bulldogs were simply outstanding against the Rockets, just days after suffering a disappointing 68-41 loss to Franklin. And it all began with their play on defense led by DaQueisha Epps and Leah Jones, who combined for 11 of the Bulldogs’ 20 steals.
Meadville forced 19 turnovers in the first half and held the Rockets to just six field goals on 19 attempts. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, committed just seven turnovers in the opening half and were 14 of 35 from the field as they built a 37-15 halftime lead.
Seniors Victoria Severo and Toni Feidler led the Bulldogs’ first-half effort. Severo scored 16 of her game-high 24 points in the first 16 minutes, including three 3-pointers, while Feidler had eight of her 12 points and also added six of her 10 rebounds.
DaQuanda Epps had six points in the first half.
“I think we grew a little bit (last night),” coach Jones said.
“We just have to keep playing like this,” Chandler said.
While Meadville played a strong fundamental game last night, it was their consistency that pleased Jones the most. Despite holding a 22-point lead going into the second half, the Bulldogs never let up. In fact, the ’Dogs played their best defense in the fourth quarter, holding Slippery Rock to just two points.
“We just kept playing,” Jones said. “And that’s what I asked them to do. When you have a 20-point lead you can lose focus. I wanted them to stay focused defensively. And I think we did that.”
Meadville shot 43.1 percent for the game. The ’Dogs combined for six 3-pointers. Severo, who also had six rebounds and three steals, knocked down four treys. Jones added nine points and five steals. Chandler added seven points. DaQuanda Epps had 10 points.
For the Rockets, Morgan Siebka had 11 points.
Meadville returns to action Wednesday at home against Greenville.
Lisa Byers can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.