Women’s basketball sweeps competition in Puerto Rico

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Samuel Miller

Kaelyn Long, Senior Writer

The Bison women’s basketball team traveled to the warmer weather of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico to take part in the Puerto Rico Clasico tournament during Thanksgiving break. The Orange and Blue finished 2-0, as head coach Trevor Woodruff achieved his 300th NCAA win. The Bison defeated Howard, 70-60, in their first game before edging out Cincinnatti, 56-48, in their second matchup. The Bison now sit at an overall record of 5-3.

“Puerto Rico was a place to help us figure out our team identity in order to answer the questions of ‘Who are we as a team?’ and ‘What are we capable of?’ We came up with two big wins against some of the stronger opponents that we are going to face this year,” Tessa Brugler ’21 said. “There were adjustments that needed to be made before and during the game and we were able to adjust to these and do what was needed for us to win.”

Against Howard, Brugler led the Orange and Blue with an 18-point performance. The Orange and Blue went 6-of-11 from the 3-point arc and 20-for-23 from the free-throw line. The first two quarters went back-and-forth as Howard outscored the Orange and Blue, taking a 13-12 lead going into the second quarter. During the second quarter, the Bison made six of nine shots and four free throws, giving them a 34-27 lead going into halftime.

After the half, the Bison went 4 for 6 from the 3-point arc and connected 16 of their 18 free throw attempts. The Orange and Blue dominated the second half, outscoring and out-rebounding Howard. In the final quarter, the team’s solid defensive effort restricted Howard to just 20 percent shooting, solidifying their lead.

Ellie Mack ’20 contributed 12 points, while Abby Kapp ’21 tallied 14 points. Freshmen Carly Krsul ’23 and Tai Johnson ’23 came off the bench, adding a career-high six points from Krsul and the first career 3-pointer for Johnson. Eight different players scored for the Bison.

Against the Cincinnati Bearcats, Kapp led the way with a 13-point performance, including three shots from behind the arc. This was the Bison’s first win against an American Athletic Conference opponent in program history.

For the majority of the first half, the Bearcats controlled the game, yet the Bison were able to go into halftime with a one-point lead. In the second half alone, the Bearcats were limited to 24.1 percent shooting and only added four points in the last 6:34 of the game.

After the first quarter, the Bison trailed 18-12. The Bearcats shot 64.3 percent while the Bison shot only 30 percent. Brugler added five straight points, putting their lead within reach. Kapp nailed consecutive 3-pointers that started an 11-4 run for the Orange and Blue. During the second quarter, the Bison’s defensive efforts cut the Bearcats’ shooting percentage in half.

Kapp came up big once again in the third quarter, scoring the first five points. This performance was not enough to prevent a Bearcat comeback toward the end of the quarter after executing five made field goals and five points at the charity stripe.

Ally Johnson ’21 evened the score at 43-43 going into the fourth quarter. Then with six minutes left in the game, Johnson nailed a deep 3-pointer to give the Bison a 51-44 lead. The Bison outscored the Bearcats 13-5 in the final quarter.

Johnson reached double figures on the day with 11 points, nine of which came from behind the arc. Mack contributed a season-high 12 rebounds while adding two blocks and two assists. Marly Walls ’22 led the team with five teams while adding eight points. Taylor O’Brien ’22 added seven points and six rebounds.

“I am really proud of this team and the progress that we have been making so far this season.  I am excited to see the things that we can do in the future. Puerto Rico was just a little taste of the great things we are capable of,” Brugler said.

The Bison won their third straight game as they topped George Mason 64-51 in Fairfax on Dec. 4. Tessa Brugler scored a career-high 24 points and recorded her second double-double of the season with 11 rebounds. The Bison played suffocating defense holding George Mason to only 27.5 percent shooting.

The Orange and Blue will look to continue their winning streak as they return home to Sojka Pavilion to take on Drexel on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.

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