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Defense Pushes Women's Basketball Past Austin College

Defense Pushes Women's Basketball Past Austin College

GEORGETOWN, Texas – In the last game of the regular season, the Southwestern University Pirates women's basketball team upset the conference-leading Austin College Kangroos by a score of 50-46 on senior night. 

For much of the game, SCAC leading scorer Bryce Frank was an immoveable force for Austin College, parking herself near the front of the rim to seal defenders deep in the paint and spinning over either shoulder for a game-high 19 points. 

But time and the Pirates' defense refused to stand still.

Southwestern managed to build a double-digit lead in the third quarter, then deployed a scrambling, pressure defense to protect it the rest of the way. Noel Pratts was everywhere in the third quarter, blocking two shots and deflecting several other entry passes, bleeding shot clock to prevent the Kangaroos from setting up Frank in the post. 

Working from one of the two forward spots on the wing in a 2-3 zone, Tori Carraway used her length and quickness to help protect the paint from the weakside and then recovering with text book closeouts on skip passes to prevent shots and drives. 

Early in the fourth quarter, the Pirates took a 47-38 lead on a Cecily Woolfolk offensive rebound and put back, then hit its worst scoring drought of the season, going from the 9:01 mark in the fourth quarter to the final 17 seconds of the game without scoring.

The Pirates went with size and length down the stretch, turning to Woolfolk and Carraway with Noel Pratts and Zhazze Brown on the wings and Courtney Maass at the point guard spot.

Southwestern played sound positional defense, making Frank work for her points by forcing her to play in a crowd with size (Woolfolk) between her and the basket and length (Carraway and Pratts) stepping over to help. The Kangaroos' star player scored six points but needed six shots and a lot of time to get there, shutting down every other aspect of their offense with no free-throw attempts in the quarter and no made 3-pointers.

It was a second quality win this week for the Pirates, having defeated third-place Texas Lutheran on Tuesday. And the fifth win in six games since the Pirates shuffled their lineups to move Carraway and Maass to the second unit to give the bench more scoring punch and create balanced lineups throughout the game.

Woolfolk led the Pirates in scoring with 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds with an assist. Maass and Chloe Drum each had seven points off the bench, leading a second unit that outscored Austin College's bench 33-14.

In addition to scoring, the bench provided valuable energy and defense with Ifeoma Mbue changing the game with solid defense in the first half, playing three-quarters post denial and coming away with three steals to ignite the Pirates.

Frank finished with a 19-point, 14-rebound double-double, adding three blocks, two steals, and two assists. No other Austin College player scored in double figures, shooting 34 percent from the floor and 2-for-13 from deep.

With the win, the Pirates finish the regular season 12-13 and 11-5 in conference.  The SCAC Tournament will take place from Feb. 22-24 in Seguin, Texas with Texas Lutheran University hosting.