BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – X’s. O’s. Switching defenses. Strategic timeouts. Shooting percentages on Wednesdays.
But sometimes, it simply comes down to which team team performs when the spotlight is shining the brightest. Sometimes it just comes down to making plays.
On Wednesday evening inside Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium, the Lebanon Valley College women’s basketball team couldn’t come up with the plays when they mattered most, and it dropped a 61-58 decision to Stevenson. In a see-saw, back-and-forth affair, the result came down to one final possession.
The Flying Dutchmen had a chance to prolong the game, down three points with 11 seconds to go, thanks to a steal by Peyton Carper. Out of a timeout, Lebanon Valley drew up a potential game-tying three-point shot, but Carper’s attempt from the top of the arc only drew iron.
With the loss, LVC fell to 9-4 overall and 3-2 in the Commonwealth Division of the Middle Atlantic Conference. The Flying Dutchmen, who are 5-0 on the road, slipped to 2-3 at home.
Stevenson upped its overall record to 5-6, and its league mark to 2-3.
“For us, we couldn’t get a stop when we needed it,” said Lebanon Valley second-year head coach Amy Sokaitis. “We didn’t make plays at the end of the game.
“That (Carper’s three-point attempt) was one of the options,” continued Sokaitis. “They (the Mustangs) covered it well. But she still got a look at it. That’s where we like to shoot from. We don’t take too many ‘threes’ from the corner. We got a good look at it.”
Actually, Carper’s missed shot was Lebanon Valley’s fourth, after Stevenson had taken a 61-58 lead with 2:12 remaining. The Flying Dutchmen had scored what would be their final points of the evening a minute earlier, on a Lexie Lantz jumper that tied the score.
Lebanon Valley grabbed a 52-49 lead 3:34 into the final quarter on a three-ball from Taylor Umbrel. The Flying Dutchmen also led 54-51 with 5:34 remaining, courtesy of a couple of charity tosses from Kiely Chaklos.
“She played well in stretches for us,” said Sokaitis of Chaklos. “We need to get everyone on the same page. We lost our focus a little bit. It’s tough. Some games we have it and some games we don’t. We need to concentrate on coming in ready to play, no matter what the situation is.
“We didn’t play with a whole lot of chemistry offensively,” added Sokaitis.
On the strength of an 8-3 spurt, Stevenson extended its one-point halftime edge to 37-31, 4:14 into the third quarter. But Lebanon Valley ended the stanza with nine unanswered points – three from Taylor Troutman, a pair from Chaklos and two from Hilary Yoh – and took a 47-44 lead courtesy of two foul shots by Carper.
“We didn’t defend anywhere near our caliber, at all,” said Sokaitis. “I thought we over focused on some things. But I don’t think we took them lightly.
“I think the lesson is: ‘Focus on what the next game is, and stay dialed in’,” continued Sokaitis. “The biggest thing is it’s over and done with. Let’s learn from it.”
Chaklos tallied 14 points to lead Lebanon Valley, while Umbrell contributed 12 points and Lantz collected ten. The Flying Dutchmen made 17 of their 18 foul shots, but converted only 32 percent of their field goal attempts.
“If you would’ve asked me that last week, I would’ve had a different answer for you,” said Sokaitis of her team’s plight. “We’re coming along. We’re not where we want to be defensively, but we’re not far off. I think there were games where we defended well.
“We can’t split the conference,” Sokaitis continued. “We did that last year and it didn’t bode well for us.”
On this evening, Lebanon Valley College may have played its best basketball early on.
Thanks to an Umbrel trey, a three-point play by Alyssa Cirucci, a deuce from Bridget Rothert and four points from Lantz, LVC rattled off 12 straight points to turn a two-point deficit into a 14-4 advantage. Later, the Flying Dutchmen opened a 22-12 margin on foul shots from Umbrel.
But over the next three minutes, Stevenson outscored the Flying Dutchmen 13-0. The Mustangs led 29-28 at halftime.
“We got a little complacent,” said Sokaitis. “We have a knack for playing to whatever the tone of the game is. They (the Mustangs) put pressure on us. They came after us.”
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Middle Atlantic Conference Standings
|Fairleigh Dickinson – Florham||1-1||9-4|
|11/14/2015||Marywood University||Martz Hall, Pottsville, Pa.||W 68-50
|11/17/2015||Elizabethtown College||Annville, Pa.||L 54-68
|Rinso Marquette Tournament|
|11/21/2015||Shenandoah University||Annville, Pa.||W 70-51
|11/22/2015||No. 14 FDU-Florham||Annville, Pa.||W 73-60
|11/29/2015||Pitt-Bradford||Bradford, Pa.||W 71-54
|12/2/2015||*||Arcadia University||Glenside, Pa.||W 72-44
|12/5/2015||*||Albright College||Annville, Pa.||L 49-55
|12/9/2015||Misericordia University||Dallas, Pa.||W 73-62 (OT)
|12/12/2015||*||Hood College||Frederick, Md.||W 57-38
|Puerto Rico Tournament|
|12/28/2015||No. 9 Montclair State University||San Juan, Puerto Rico||W 59-50
|12/29/2015||Simpson College||San Juan, Puerto Rico||L 54-53
|1/2/2016||*||Alvernia University||Reading, Pa.||W 73-55
|1/6/2016||*||Stevenson University||Annville, Pa.||L 58-61
|1/10/2016||Amherst College||Amherst, Mass.||1 p.m.|
|1/13/2016||*||Widener University||Annville, Pa.||6 p.m.|
|1/16/2016||*||Lycoming College||Williamsport, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|1/20/2016||*||Messiah College||Annville, Pa.||6 p.m.|
|1/23/2016||*||Albright College||Reading, Pa.||4 p.m.|
|The Pink Game|
|1/27/2016||*||Hood College||Annville, Pa.||6 p.m.|
|2/3/2016||*||Widener University||Chester, Pa.||6 p.m.|
|2/6/2016||*||Alvernia University||Annville, Pa.||4 p.m.|
|2/10/2016||*||Stevenson University||Stevenson, Md.||6 p.m.|
|2/13/2016||*||Arcadia University||Annville, Pa.||2 p.m.|
|2/16/2016||*||Messiah College||Grantham, Pa.||6 p.m.|
|2/20/2016||*||Lycoming College||Annville, Pa.||1 p.m.|