(Wenham MA) A clutch three (Melinda Ogden) and a defensive gem (Lauren Plissey) at the final buzzer got a win on the road for Maine Maritime Academy over Gordon College, 52-50, on Friday night.
Gordon dominated the first quarter and Maine Maritime the second.
“The first quarter we looked really good, didn’t we,” recalled Gordon coach Carter Shaw. “Everything was easy.” The Scots made shots (7/14) and had a twenty-point quarter.
The second quarter was a chance for the team from Castine (Maine) to shine.
“I’m really happy with the way our kids responded in the second quarter,” explained Maine Maritime coach Craig Dagan. “We increased the tempo and that helped.” The Mariners made shots (6/16) and had an eighteen-point quarter.
We’d seen in the first half what the best of both teams looked like.
The second half was back-and-forth with little separation. A good crowd at the Bennett Center witnessed six lead changes and six ties in that spirited second half.
You just sensed as time went on that the winner would be determined late in the game.
And they were.
The Scots (3-1) took a two-point lead (50-48) into the final two minutes but never scored again.
Gordon, in fact, had a turnover, a missed jump shot, two missed free throws, and three missed layups over the final fatal minutes.
The Mariners (3-3) weren’t too much better during the exciting conclusion but they did get within one of the lead (Mikayla Charters free throw) before senior Melinda Ogden nailed a gutsy triple from the right corner with thirty-six seconds left to give MMA a 2-point lead (52-50).
“Melinda’s other three was early in the game,” said Coach Dagan. “For her to have the courage to take that shot was a big moment for her and us.” Melinda was a second-team all-conference (North Atlantic Conference) player last year.
The Scots had two chances to even things.
On the first one, Meghan Foley missed a tightly defended jump shot.
The final possession ended with sophomore Lauren Plissey blocking Meghan’s layup attempt just before the buzzer ended the game.
Lauren’s block was definitely the biggest play in the game.
“She’s a really good defensive player,” said Coach Dagan. Lauren had five blocks in the game but none bigger than the one she had on the last possession of the game.
“The way they were calling the game it probably wasn’t going to be a foul,” said Coach Shaw referencing Lauren Plissey’s block on Meghan Foley’s layup attempt, “but you really want those.”
Lauren (5-10 sophomore) had twenty-two points and eleven rebounds to go with her five blocks. Her Efficiency Rating (subtracting negatives from positives) was an excellent thirty-two.
Gordon had only seven players in uniform for the game. It seemed during pre-game warmups that the Scots had more players NOT in uniform than in uniform.
“Fatigue is an issue for us,” said Coach Shaw. “I thought we’d be healthy at the beginning of the year with all the players we had but injuries have been a factor. We have so many points sitting on the bench.”
Gordon struggled to make shots after the first quarter. Going 10-for-50 over the last three quarters will get you into trouble.
“We couldn’t make a shot,” said Coach Shaw. “Meghan had some good looks but not many were falling for her tonight.”
Meghan ended up with twenty-two points and ten rebounds. However, it took twenty-nine shots for her to get there. Lauren Plissey reached the same points total with only thirteen shots.
“They’re starting to scout us more, so they know what we’re capable of,” said senior Sarah Gibbs (16 rebounds) post-game. “They’re trying to take that away. It was harder tonight to rebound because they sent more players to box me out.”
Lauren Plissey limited Sarah to four points getting help from teammates to prevent drives to the basket.
Seeing that the Scots had gotten off to a 3-0 start drew me to tonight’s game. To say that the women’s program has struggled is an understatement! The Gordon women haven’t had a winning season in FOURTEEN years. Their record during that time 78-275. So when the team gets off to a good start it’s time to take notice……and I did.
I asked senior Meghan Foley about the good start: “We have some super-helpful freshman. They don’t play like freshman. They’re very composed. They know when to take shots.”
Sarah Gibbs agreed: “The freshman have helped us a lot. The team this year is way different from any I’ve been on here. We feel it on the court. Everyone is close. The skills are at a higher level.”
The GC freshman in tonight’s game were Olivia Gagnon and Seri Anderson.
Coach Dagan: “We were well aware that they had a kid (Meghan Foley) averaging thirty points and another one (Sarah Gibbs) averaging twenty rebounds. I thought that our kids did a good job on #4 (Megan Foley). Gordon had a lot of players who weren’t healthy.”
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)