BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College women's basketball team shook off a sluggish first quarter and used a balanced scoring attack to defeat Wilkes University, 80-57, in non-conference action in Johnston Hall Thursday evening.
The Greyhounds, who won their fifth straight game to improve to 5-1 on the season, had three players in double figures with freshman guard Jennifer McClave and sophomore guard Karlie Brogan each scoring 13 points. Brogan led the Hounds with nine rebounds as the Blue and Grey posted a 42-24 edge on the glass while McClave added five steals, three rebounds and three assists. Senior forward Trista Cunningham contributed 10 points and four boards while sophomores guard Maddie Capuano and forward Nadine Ewald each netted nine points with Ewald grabbing three rebounds and Capuano dishing out four assists.
Senior forward Ciara Stewart and freshman guard Julia Sirotnak both had six points with Sirotnak adding four rebounds and a pair of blocked shots while junior guard Emily Walls had five points and three boards. Senior guard Taylor Freeman added four points while junior forward Ariana Caiati and freshman guard Sarah Donati both had two points.
"I knew it was going to be a little struggle early without Camille McPherson after we found out earlier in the afternoon that she wasn't going to be able to play," commented Head Coach Mary Beth Spirk. "It was a slow start but I loved the way we picked it up, especially in the second half when we came right out of the gates and put them away. We told them at halftime to not give Wilkes any chance to think that they could win the game.
"I was real pleased with our effort, and it was nice to get all 16 players in the game with quality minutes," continued Spirk. "We got some players going in the scoring column which we needed. With five games in the next 10 days before finals and especially starting the conference schedule in two days, we hoped that we could play that many people tonight but I wasn't so sure with how we played early on. It is going to be a tough stretch before we get to the break for finals but we have enough people and we'll see what happens when we get Camille back."
Moravian finished the game shooting 32-for-61 from the floor (52.5 percent), and the Greyhounds headed to the foul line 24 times in the contest. The squad also had 18 assists and 14 steals while forcing the Colonels into 27 turnovers.
Ewald opened the scoring with a lay-up at the 8:28 mark, and Brogan would give Moravian an 8-1 lead with a lay-up just over two minutes later. However, Wilkes went on a 17-4 run to end the first quarter with an 18-12 advantage.
Over the next 20 minutes, Moravian outscored the Colonels, 53-24, to take control of the affair. McClave hit a jumper and Ewald added two free throws as the Hounds closed within two points in the first 1:13 of the second quarter. Cunningham knotted the score at 21-21 with a free throw at the 6:21 mark while Brogan sank a pair of free throws at 5:40 to give the Blue and Grey the lead for good at 25-24. Sirotnak pushed the Hounds advantage to double digits at 37-26 with 46 ticks on the clock before the intermission; however, Wilkes hit a pair of shots including a three-pointer to cut Moravian's lead to 37-31 at halftime.
The Hounds quickly pushed the advantage back into double digits at the start of the second half, and the lead ballooned to 21 points, 54-33, on a lay-up by Stewart just over four minutes into the third quarter. Moravian would lead 65-40 after 30 minutes of action and the Blue and Grey had their largest lead of the night of 29 points, 73-44, after a lay-up inside by Caiati with 6:13 left to play.
The Greyhounds are set to begin their 2017-18 Landmark Conference season on Saturday, December 2 when the squad heads to Elizabethtown College for a 4:00 p.m. contest.