By John Jackson
The Manhattan College women’s basketball team kept rolling, defeating the Canisius Golden Griffins 77-55, and extending its solid stretch of play with its fourth win in five games.
Teamwork played an important role in the contest, as three Jaspers scored in double figures, and the team collectively dug in on defense, recording 13 steals and limiting Canisius to 30 percent shooting from the floor. Amani Tatum was one of the marquee players on the night, scoring 15 points to go along with three steals.
“I think it was just a team effort, everyone contributed,” Tatum said about the team’s performance. “Everyone did their part. Everyone just did what they had to do. A lot of people scored, a lot of people got active on offense and defense so I thought that was key for us.”
Things did not seem very smooth in the first half as both teams were tied at various points of the game. Canisius failed to do anything while tied, as their largest lead of the night was by a point. Things were still close but Manhattan seemed like the team that had the most control.
The Jaspers were a completely different team in the second half as they took a game that was once close and ran away with it. They were 12-32 from the field and 2-8 on free throws in the first half, compared to 15-33 from the field and 14-24 on free throws in the second half. They also scored 31 points in the first half compared to 46 in the second.
Head coach John Olenowski, recognized the improvement in the second half.
“We made some adjustments and I thought we played great defense,” Olenowski said about the second half adjustments, “especially the latter part of the third quarter, and then we started getting hot on the offensive end. So I thought the middle of the third quarter to the end of the game we played terrific basketball and that’s when it matters most, in the second half.”
Big improvements ensued and many players were involved. Tatum, Shayna Ericksen, and Taylor Williams all reached double digits in points. Crystal Ross led the team with 16 rebounds while Blake Underhill lead the team with nine assists. The aforementioned Ericksen finished one rebound away from a double-double while Ross finished one point away from a double-double.
Everyone got in on the action and Olenowski noticed.
I thought it was great balanced scoring,” he said. “I thought we had plenty of people that stepped up on the offensive end and I think it was our best defensive game of the year so far.”
While the Jaspers ended the half up 31-23 they knew they could do even better. summed up Olenowski’s message well.
“He definitely told us the third quarter was going to a big quarter for us which it was, she said. “We started off a little slow, but towards the end and definitely the fourth quarter we picked up our energy”
Manhattan improved to 10-11 overall on the season and sits in fourth place in conference play as it is 7-5 against MAAC rivals. Its next game is at Marist on Monday February 8th in Poughkeepsie.