21 Aug 2014
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Tappan Zee Defense Sparks Road Victory

Tappan Zee Defense Sparks Road Victory
Tappan Zee struggled to handle Pearl River's defensive pressure for much of Wednesday's road game, trailing by 11 points as late as 5:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Dutchies relied on some strong defense of their own to rally for a  63-54 victory, holding the Pirates to only one basket from the field and seven total points in the fourth quarter to earn the victory over their neighboring rivals.

"Our team defense was pretty good today," Tappan Zee senior Kristen McLaughlin said. "We're happy about that."

Tappan Zee's defense was at its best during a 14-0 run that turned the 11-point deficit into a 54-51 lead with 2:57 remaining. Tappan Zee Head Coach Tom Cromer said it was also a matter of doing a better job rebounding defensively.

"We defended and rebounded," Cromer said of the 14-0 run. "I know it sounds simple, but if you look at the first half, I don't know that we could have played any worse offensively and defensively. The thing I'm trying to get them to understand is if you dig in on defense, you minimize the other teams' possessions. You might play great defense, and sometimes we do, but if you don't finish it with a great box out, they put it back in. We might work hard for 20 seconds and throw it away because we didn't finish possessions. I thik we finished possessions in the fourth quarter."

McLaughlin led all scorers with 28 points, including nine during the 14-0 run, but she also played a key role defensively. She spent much of the game matched up with Pearl River's top scorer, junior forward Emma Daly, who entered the game scoring 20.5 points per game and finished the contest with 12. 

"Emma has had the advantage of playing a lot of girls smaller than her," Pearl River Head Coach Dan Lauture said. "She really did a great job on Emma. You could see every time she put the ball on the floor, everybody was zeroing in on her. Every time she went up for a rebound, there were two, three girls around her. They focused on her and that's something Emma has to get used to."

Though McLaughlin had a big game on both ends of the floor and Jill Lynch contributed 22 points and came down with some key rebounds, Cromer said it was important to note the contributions of other players to the victory.

"Everybody on this team contributed in some way," Cromer said. "The little things that won't go down in the statistics. I make sure they recognize it because it was a total team effort.

"(Freshman guard) Carmella Liscio, in the first half, she kept us in the game. She came in on the biggest stage and made some plays for us offensively. Brianna (McCleary) was tremendous defensively in the second half. I've been begging to see that girl again. She kept us in the flow of our offense. She wasn't forcing shots. She was a general on the court. Delaney Sheridan and Amanda Paul did a tremendous job on the glass."

Tappan Zee plays at home 4:30 p.m. Friday against Nyack.

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