Defense leads Mount women to victory

The Mount Aloysius College women’s basketball team beat Penn State Altoona in an Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference game Wednesday night at the Adler Athletic Complex and both coaches agreed defense was the difference.

“It was our intensity on the defensive end,” Mount Aloysius coach Kristi Kaack said following the Mounties’ 70-59 victory. “We’re not a team that outscores another team so we really need to defend.”

Altoona tied the game at 20-all when Nicole Gripp converted three free throws at the 9:28 mark of the first half. Alexis Restori’s 3-pointer gave the Mount a 23-20 advantage and the visitors went on a 20-5 run to build a commanding 40-25 lead at the half.

“Getting in the passing lanes and defending hard in the post got us some steals which turned into some easy points for us,” Kaack said.

Altoona coach Casey Shoup said her team’s lack of defense during that stretch was the Lady Lions’ downfall.

“Our defense lacked,” Shoup said. “We stopped picking up and pressuring the basketball. They kept spreading out and taking it to us.

“That was a time where we needed to stop them from penetrating,” she continued. “We didn’t and they went on a big run.”

With Madison Mossellum scoring 14 of her team-high 16 points, PSU Altoona cut the Mounties’ lead to eight points several times in the second half, but never got closer.

“We couldn’t get over that hump,” first-year coach Shoup noted. “It was a tough night. We worked inside and they doubled down on our big [Moira Corrigan]. When we kicked out, we took good shots, but they didn’t fall.

“We struggled from the field,” added Shoup, whose Lions made only 20-of-59 shots, including just 8-of-27 in the first half. “They played us tough. They’re a good team, well-coached.”

Lindsy Sammarco, a senior from Bishop Carroll, led Mount Aloysius with 24 points. Becky Bard added 16 and Kaleigh Roop 12.

“Lindsy is the type of player who knows how to win and wants to win,” Kaack said. “Her determination and the way she leads on the floor … she does it all for us.”

Shoup agreed.

“She’s a good ballplayer, one of the best in the conference,” Shoup said of Sammarco. “She was excellent tonight. I’d like to have one of those on my team.”

The Lions fell to 2-11 overall and 2-6 in the AMCC while the Mounties improved to 6-7 overall and 4-3 in the conference.

“We want to run because we have the ability to do it,” Kaack said. “We have post players who can move. We don’t want to be a half-court team, especially with Lindsy and Becky, Ali Maruca and Alexis Restori. Those guards can run well and finish in transition, so we want to push as much as we can.”

MOUNT ALOYSIUS (70): Bard 7-20 2-2 16, Restori 1-4 1-1 3, Gross 1-1 0-0 2, Sammarco 8-17 4-6 24, Roop 4-8 4-5 12, Maruca 2-5 0-0 4, Bender 0-1 0-0 0, Colmer 0-1 0-0 0, Dona 0-0 0-0 0, Brosnihan 0-1 0-0 0, Young 0-0 0-0 0, O’Barto 0-0 0-0 0, Zinobile 0-4 1-2 1, Rupp 2-5 4-4 8, Snedden 0-0 0-0 0. Totals – 25-67 15-19 70.

PENN STATE ALTOONA (59): Mossellum 6-13 3-4 16, Corrigan 3-10 1-4 7, Becker 1-7 2-2 4, Greene 3-7 0-2 6, Stessney 2-6 0-0 6, Boslet 1-7 0-0 3, Heller 0-1 0-0 0, Stunz 1-1 0-0 3, Gripp 0-3 8-11 8, O’Toole 2-3 0-2 4, Pizur 1-1 0-0 2. Totals – 20-59 14-25 59.

Halftime-Mount Aloysius 40, PSU Altoona 25. 3-point goals-Mount Aloysius 5-18 (Bard 0-8, Restori 1-1, Sammarco 4-6, Roop 0-1, Bender 0-1, Colmer 0-1); PSU Altoona 5-12 (Mossellum 1-2, Greene 0-1, Stessney 2-5, Boslet 1-2, Heller 0-1, Stunz 1-1). Assists-Mount Aloysius 11 (Bard 3, Maruca 3); PSU Altoona 16 (Gripp 5). Rebounds-Mount Aloysius 47 (Roop 9); PSU Altoona 38 (Mossellum 8, Becker 8).

Records: Mount Aloysius (6-7, 4-3 AMCC); PSU Altoona (2-11, 2-6 AMCC).