Girls Basketball: Mother McAuley rises to the challenge
By Tony Baranek email@example.com January 4, 2014 6:40PM
Updated: February 6, 2014 6:40AM
When 6-foot-2 post Erin Drynan showed up sick with the flu, Mother McAuley was left extremely height-challenged going into Saturday’s nonconference showdown against visiting Crete-Monee.
Two 5-foot-6 dynamos stood more than tall in meeting it.
“We’re just scrappy. That’s pretty much what it comes down to. We refuse to go out and lose,” point guard Elizabeth Nye said after the Mighty Macs prevailed 59-45.
Nye was head and shoulders the premier player on the floor, scoring 34 points and handing out eight assists. Her backcourt cohort, Molly O’Malley, added 13 points, while Raven Willis had 13 rebounds as McAuley improved to 13-4.
Marsha Howard paced Crete-Monee (12-5) with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
What Nye did over the final 5:12 was nothing short of astonishing.
McAuley led just 40-38 when O’Malley converted a pass from Nye into a three-pointer. She then went to the free-throw line three consecutive times, going 6-for-6 as the Mighty Macs extended their advantage to 49-38.
Nye went on to shoot 15-for-18 from the line in the fourth period and 21-for-24 for the game.
“I’ve never had a game where I got fouled that much,” Nye said, laughing. “If they foul you, you’ve got to take free throws. We practice them so much and we run if we don’t make them at practice. So we’re used to having to get up there and make them.”
Prior to the late runaway, the two teams battled back and forth with two distinct styles — McAuley running its offense around the perimeter, looking for open shots and an occasional drive to the basket by Nye, and Crete trying to get the ball inside to 6-1 Howard and the 6-foot Henry.
The Warriors had a fair amount of success, but didn’t cash in on the height advantage nearly as much as they could have. They also didn’t cash in on a rare occurrence, Nye and O’Malley both missing their three-point tries and the Macs as a team missing their first four shots.
“We’re always pretty confident,” O’Malley said. “We’re a pretty strong three-point shooting team and our coaches always tell us to just keep shooting. Eventually they fall for us.”
Nye hit her first one to make it 3-0, and McAuley led 10-6 after one period. Crete fought back, and after a three-point play by Lindzy Cox went up 18-13 midway through the second quarter. Nye responded with a 7-0 run of her own, and the Mighty Macs were back in front 25-20 at the half.
Runs by each team left McAuley in front 38-31 after three periods before a three by Sarah Humphrey keyed another Crete surge at the start of the fourth.
A 2-for-10 dry spell possession-wise down the stretch, however, proved fatal for the Warriors.
“We should have been able to do more (inside),” Crete coach Christina Cobbins said. “I thought we should have held our position a lot more in the post. And we’ve got to do better with ball movement.
“And honestly, we didn’t get it done on the offensive or defensive rebounds. How many opportunities did we give them for second-chance shots? The shooter coming in. It didn’t become a game of who was bigger or who was smaller, it became a game of who wanted the ball more. And they went after it.”