CLAREMONT — After making significant adjustments at halftime, the Cardinals were able to launch a successful comeback against the Tigers on Saturday night.
With Maddie Miller and Riley Skarin raining down 3-pointers from all over the court, the Tigers looked invincible blasting out to a 27-22 lead at the break. Kylie Bundy kept things close on offense and with Jenna Bonneau adding a defensive spark off the bench, Molly Derosier’s back-to-back 3-pointers to close out the half for Cardinals kept them in the game.
“It’s our third game of the season and with all the starting and stopping for practices and games, we finally showed what we’re capable of in the first half,” said Newport head coach Ross Dole. “It’s a gift to be able to be playing.”
Stevens put Bonneau on Skarin in the third quarter and with the Cardinal defense extend out past the arc, the Tigers struggled offensively.
“I just go out there every game and do the best I can,” Bonneau said. “Newport is a big rival and Riley is so good, so we all wanted to play the kind of basketball we can play as a team.”
With Skarin held in check and Miller restricted with no space for clean looks at the hoop thanks to a tough Bundy defense, it was the Cardinal offense that began to click.
Versatile Zahna Rice got things rolling for Stevens while Derosier and Tara Sullivan gave the Cardinals their first lead at 30-28. Rice was a Swiss army knife tonight as she played multiple positions filling wherever needed. The Cardinals defense was swarming as Stella Lavertue made a great steal and was rewarded with a nifty assist from Bundy for a hoop. Lavertue canned another bucket to close out the quarter with a 34-28 lead.
“This is such a big game for us against our biggest rival,” said Lavertue after the game. “We really came together in the second half and it felt great to get a win today.”
With tired legs showing on the Newport side of the court, Lavertue took over the game with two quick hoops as her offensive rebounding spelled doom for Newport. Bundy would swish all six of her free throws in the final quarter as Stevens was feeling it with a 46-34 lead. The Cardinals would limit Newport to eight second-half points as Lavertue would swipe back to back steals and Sullivan would own the paint with six points late to close thing out for the evening and a 52-35 Cardinal win.
“Our defense definitely made the difference tonight. The girls really stepped up and having Jenna and Stella come off the bench with big contributions was crucial for us tonight,” said Stevens head coach Ivy Condon. “With players still out of action, tonight was a good win.”
Bundy would lead everyone tonight with 14 points while Sullivan ended up with 11 points. Rice and Derosier would chip in with eight points each while Lavertyue would throw in seven points, four rebounds and six steals. The Cardinals would finish 16 for 21 from the line.
For Newport, it was Skanin leading the way with 17 points while Miller ended with 11 points as they each had three 3-pointers all coming in the first half.
In JV action, it took overtime to end a fantastic game with Stevens winning 38-31. Aiden Antonivich led Stevens with eight points while Jillian Williams, Amaya Eitapence and Bella Landry all finished with seven points. Newport was led by Maddie Lovely and Taylor Fellows who each ended the night with nine points each.