Nova Women BB suffer first loss of season to St. Joe's, 63-60

From women's BB forum:

The Nova women lost a closely contested contest to St. Joes this afternoon, ending their unbeaten string at 7 and pretty much ceding their two year reign as Big Five champions over to the Hawks.

Both teams were streaky for the first 10 minutes of both halves, then played nip and tuck for the last 10 minutes of each half. Afer opening the scoring with a nifty lane cutter layup by Kendall Burton, St. Joes ripped off 13 unanwered points to cause Harry Paretta to call for a time out, down 13-2. Another St. Joes score and the sixth straight missed Nova shot then had us down 15-2 at the 15 minute mark before the ship got righted.

Three baskets by Taylor Holeman, a three ball by Lauren Burford and a driving layup by Devon Kane, followed by a Kane jump shot and a Emily Leer layup had us all the way back to 19 all at the 6 minute mark. The teams then traded baskets the rest of the way, with another Burford three leaving the scored tied at 28 at the half. Nova shot only 2 of 9 on threes in the half, with Burford getting both of them on 2 of 2 shooting.

The second half started out as a mirror image of the first, with Nova ripping off the first eight points and St. Joes calling for an emergency time out. Emily Leer came out attacking the post, getting two quick baskets and two foul shots. Kane capped that run off with another layup, putting the Nova lead at 36-28 a little more than two minutes into the half. St. Joes then came out and put together an 11-2 run to take a 39-38 lead at the 14:28 mark and from then on it was a dogfight to the finish.

The game came down to St. Joes having one two many fast guards for us to defense. When reserve Ciara Andrews entered the game to play along with starters Natasha Cloud and Erin Shields, we just couldn't stop one of them from attacking the basket for easy layups. Andrews and Cloud wound up scoring 18 of St. Joes last 22 points. Nova actually led by 50-45 after a three pointer by Caroline Coyer but a ten point run got St. Joes back up by 55-45 with only 4:40 to go. Kane and Coyer then ripped in three pointers and Coyer added a pair of foul shots and another basket wrapped around a pair of Cloud baskets and Nova had the lead once again at 60-59 with 2 minutes to play. Andrews got the lead right back with yet another blazing move to the basket and after a missed three by Leer, Cloud ended the scoring with a short jump shot.

With one last chance to tie with a three, Coyer's shot with about seven seconds left was off the mark and rebounded underneath the basket by Kane, but instead of passing out to the three line, attempted a layup that missed, and was rebounded on the other side by Kaherine Coyer, who also attempted to put in a layup that missed. After all of that confusion the ball was on the floor and tied up for a jump ball with 8 tenths on the clock, with the posession arrow to Nova. Caroline Coyer got a contested look at the basket from the sideline, but her three attempt was off the mark to end the game at 63-60.

Balanced scoring for both sides. Leer, Holeman and Caroline Coyer all had 12 points. Holeman also had nine boards, doing a nice job boxing out on the defensive end. Overall shooting was 25-57 (46.4%) with only 6 of 19 on threes. Burford (2) and Kane (1) were perfect on their three point shots. Everyone else was a combined 3 of 16. St. Joes defense did not leave many chances for uncontested threes and we were looking to get the ball inside most of the game. Inexplicably after Leer got three early fouls on their big girl (Fairbanks), they switched off and had her guard Holeman instead and we never tried to attack her again to get her out of the game. Game photo gallery is on the website along with the game recap and boxscore.

NovaNation should be embarrassed at their lack of support for the women's team. St. Joes brought in two busloads of students, a bunch of other fans, their entire band, a small contingent of cheerleaders and Santa Claus. They were organized in their cheering and basically owned the Pavilion. Our undefeated team essentially had to play their biggest game of the year as a road game in their own building. The biggest cheer of the night for the locals came when the emcee tried to get everyone to stand to get the free T-shirt tosses from the cheerleaders. Pretty pathetic. The girls deserve better. Nonetheless, the game itself was won by St. Joes on the court. They have a fine team and should be the Big Five champion this year and may very well win the Atlantic Ten conference regular season title.

Nothing to be done by Nova except to finish out the non-conference schedule and prepare for the new Big East conference games starting in late December. Nova is off again until next Sunday when they play at LaSalle, followed by another road game the following Sunday at Temple.

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