BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – You’ve really got to watch your fouls.
You’ve really got to take advantage of your opportunities when they present themselves.
You’ve really got to be aware of your substitutions.
You’ve really got to manage the game well, together.
On Wednesday night at Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium, the Lebanon Valley College women’s basketball squad came up with a big 62-42 early-season victory over Marywood, despite a short bench. With just six players available, the Flying Dutchmen hit their guests with an early haymaker, then played well with the lead.
With the result, Lebanon Valley, which was down three of its nine rostered players due to injuries, improved to 2-3 on the young campaign. The Flying Dutchmen are now 11-1 all-time against Marywood.
The Pacers are now 1-3 overall.
“It’s just injuries and things,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Amy Sokaitis. “We’re hoping to get some kids back. We knew this was going to be part of our identity first semester. We’re hoping to get to seven (players), and then go from there.
“The biggest thing it changes is practice,” continued Sokaitis. “And that’s why playing a zone defense is so important. They’re (her players) still really gaining and growing. We’ve gotten better every day in practice.”
Certainly LVC’s fast start was a key to the outcome.
Nursing a one-point lead, the Flying Dutchmen held Marywood score-less for a span of nearly ten minutes, from the middle of the first quarter to the middle of the second. During that time, Lebanon Valley tallied 17 unanswered points – six from Emily Mealey, four each by Morgan Bamberger and Daelyn Stabler, a Jaime Youngkin bucket and a Sara White free throw – to open a 22-4 bulge.
And when Stabler drained a jumper 2:12 before halftime, Lebanon Valley had itself a 26-11 advantage.
“It was super,” said Sokaitis of the her side’s opening volley. “They (her players) did everything we needed to do. We started strong defensively. After that, we wanted to stay focused on getting stops. Sometimes when you get the lead you can get comfortable.
“We did a really good job defensively,” Sokaitis continued. “We turned them over and didn’t allow them to get any rhythm.”
Four different Flying Dutchmen scorers reached double figures. Mealey showed the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds, Bamberger and Youngkin netted 13 points apiece and Stabler tossed in a dozen.
Lebanon Valley held Marywood to 26 percent shooting in the first half and 31 percent for the game. The Flying Dutchmen outscored Marywood 36-18 in the paint and notched 17 points off turnovers.
“I don’t think we played our best game of the year, but it was the toughest situation we were in,” said Sokaitis. “We put a new defense in and I liked the way we played it. It was a true zone, and we were able to get out and run in transition because of it.
“I just think we’re climbing the ladder,” added Sokaitis. “We want to go into Thanksgiving feeling good, get a little rest, get our legs back and come back ready to go.”
Marywood recorded the first five points of the second half to pull to within 26-20 of the lead. But that’s as close as the visitors would come.
A driving lay-in from Youngkin with 3:06 of the third quarter remaining gave Lebanon Valley a 39-25 cushion and capped a 13-5 burst. Then two minutes into the fourth period, Youngkin converted an old-fashioned three-point play to push the Flying Dutchmen advantage to 46-27.
“We’re young, so we know there’s going to be a lot of teaching and growing,” said Sokaitis. “The goal right now is the process. I think we have a lot of talent, but the talent is young. Part of the goal is not to have a bad practice. I think we’ve done a great job of staying focused.”