BY ERIN MADDEN
Franciscan University’s women’s basketball team hung tough on the road in their first-ever conference tournament appearance against a veteran Pitt.-Greensburg team, losing by a final score of 70-59.
“Tonight we ran into a team lead by a collection of talented seniors in Pitt.-Greensburg,” said Suzy Delaney, head women’s basketball coach. “I am very proud of our effort tonight, so proud of this team and the character they displayed this season.”
Freshman guard Sarah Schriner stole the show for the Lady Barons, playing one of the best games of her young career despite the pressure-filled situation of a playoff game. Schriner displayed confidence beyond her years, continually driving to the hoop to keep Franciscan in a tight game.
The freshman was the leading scorer on the night with 24 points.
“Sarah was fearless tonight,” Delaney said. “Pitt.-Greensburg didn’t have an answer for her.”
Leading the Lady Barons on the defensive side was junior guard Monica Dawyot, who grabbed 12 of her 16 rebounds on the defensive glass. Dawyot’s career rebounding effort helped Franciscan to win the overall rebounding battle 47-36, another key to a close game.
“Monica’s rebounding kept us in the game,” Delaney said. “I am proud of the toughness she displayed tonight.”
The 47 team rebounds only went so far, as Franciscan was unable to convert those extra opportunities, shooting only 30.3 percent in the second half to Greensburg’s 41.4 percent.
The first-ever playoff appearance also marks senior forward Lacey Huck’s last appearance on a basketball court. The three-year captain has seen the Franciscan women’s basketball program through a lot of growth, from three wins in her freshman year to 10 wins and a playoff appearance in her senior year.
Huck played the last 11 minutes of her storied career with four fouls, something she had a lot of experience doing in her previous years on the team. Her strong play and leadership in those minutes also kept the Lady Barons in a close game.
The senior appropriately finished her last game in a Franciscan uniform with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“Lacey going out with a double-double is fitting,” Delaney said. “What she has meant to our program, you can’t even measure. Who she is as a person far outweighs the great player she is.”
While Huck’s presence on the team will be missed, the Lady Barons will return a talented lineup that has gained valuable experience being on the same team with Huck.
Led by the potent offense of Schriner and sophomore guard Iliana Gonzales, the Lady Barons will look to continue to improve as a program as well as in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference in the 2015-2016 season.