Lady Wreckers return to winning ways, pound Harding
The Staples girls basketball team broke a two-game losing streak on Thursday with a 66-24 home victory over Harding to raise its record to 9-4. Harding dropped to 0-12.
"Coming in off of two bitter defeats, we tried to create a few things off of our transition," Staples Coach Ed Huydic said. "The guards did a good job in transition in finding the open player. I liked the way we went after the loose ball. It's a good comeback after two bitter defeats."
The Lady Wreckers never trailed and a 3-pointer by senior captain Suvi Puripattarapan off a feed from junior Nicole Brill made it 5-2, giving them the lead for the duration. Puripattarapan (16 points, one rebound, three assists, seven steals) led Staples' offense and hit a few outside shots.
"We were able to move the ball around and get open," Puripattarapan said.
Defensively, Puripattarapan was instrumental in forcing the Lady Presidents into committing turnovers. Overall, Harding had 45 turnovers, 25 in the first half with the Lady Wrecker captain forcing seven. Moreover, she had two easy layups off of steals.
"Our pressure defense double teamed them and it made it easier for me," Puripattarapan said.
Junior Jaclyn Katz (nine points, one rebound, six assists, five steals) was a bandit on defense and made her thefts look easy. Katz converted two of her steals into coast-to-coast layups.
"We all put up pressure up top and when we do it, it opens up steals for me," Katz said.
Katz could have scored more points if she took it to the basket more often. She frequently set up her teammates for easy layups after pickpocketing a Harding player.
"I was looking up for the open player and I saw them," Katz said.
Rebounding was Staples' Achilles Heel as it garnered only 16 boards for the entire game. Harding had a few second and third chances because of its advantage on the glass.
"We've been outrebounded in almost every game and we're not establishing space when we box out, which is something we have to work on in practice," said Huydic.
Not having sophomore center Jess Coelho, who is out with an injury, also didn't help. In fact, senior captain Maddie Krakowiak, who missed the first 10 games of the season because of an MCL injury, was inserted into the starting lineup in her second game and is playing more minutes than Huydic expected. The coach was hoping to bring Krakowiak back slowly but surely.
"It really feels fine," Krakowiak said. "I try to put my weight on my other leg and it hasn't hurt in awhile."
Krakowiak (seven points, one rebound, one assist, three steals) is returning to last year's form and is developing a reliable outside shot.
"It came by easily and it wasn't really hard to get back into it," Krakowiak said.
Junior MaryKate Van Sant also played despite an injury. Van Sant wore a mask on the court because of a broken nose.
"It's actually scary because I couldn't see where the bal is," Van Sant admitted. "It forced me to keep my head up."
Nevertheless, Van Sant (seven points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals) swished a 3-pointer and an outside shot and located her open teammates for easy shots.
"I didn't think about it on offense and I played my regular game," Van Sant said. "Down low, I was scared to play defense because I didn't want to get hurt. I got over my fears and I was able to get rebounds and steals."
Senior Chelsea Salamone (14 points, one rebound, four assists, three steals) made her layups and classmate Tory Dodge (six points, one rebound, one assist, two steals) drilled two 3-pointers. Brill (five points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal) led the Lady Wreckers on the glass and junior Julie Strickland (two points, two rebounds, two assists, four steals) was a defensive sparkplug.
"It was good to get this win because it got us back on track," Puripattarapan said.