ACC women beat short handed Henry Ford team

Even though the ACC women were down by as much as 20-10 in Saturday’s matchup against Eastern Conference rival the Henry Ford Hawks, it was able to slowly stage a large enough comeback to win 60-55.

The Henry Ford squad has only five girls, but it jumped out to a 10-2 on ACC (5-7, Eastern Conference 2-3) after two and a half minutes.

“I think that you go in with a mindset (with such a small squad) that they’ll get tired out quick and we’ll be able to run them into the ground, but they held their own for awhile,” Courtney Holmes said.

The Hawks (1-10, 0-4 Eastern Conference) Richarda Gordon scored all 10 of these points, hitting two back-to-back treys. It utilized tight man-to-man pressure to hold off ACC’s scoring attack for long stretches.

Three pointers from Whitney Frazier and Sarah Kolb narrowed the spread, but the Hawks held a 20-10 lead with just under 10 minutes left to play in the first half.

Frazier led ACC with 20 points.

By the time the half ended, ACC had staged a comeback and were only behind 28-24, having outscored the Hawks 14-8.

A big part of this success was breaking down the Hawk press and getting the ball to the hoop. Players like Amy Nowak and Emily Nowak utilized their height advantage to snag rebounds for second and third chance scoring opportunities.

ACC was also helped by the Hawks running into foul trouble. It gave ACC seven free throw attempts in the first half, six of which it hit.

The Lumberjacks continued to narrow the spread throughout the beginning of the second half, but the Hawks maintained it for nearly four minutes, thanks to an opening trey from Gordon 45 seconds into the half.

This bucket gave the Hawks a 31-24 lead, but ACC finally pulled ahead in the next three minutes utilizing sustained offense and careful zone defense to avoid fouls.

With such lower numbers, the Hawks started to get in foul trouble late in the half and had to switch to a zone defense to avoid fouling out.

“Once they went to that zone and spread out, we got a lot more opportunities to shoot. We started hitting longer range shots, which opened up shorter range shots,” Holmes said.

Kayla Shepard hit two buckets in 30 seconds to narrow the Hawks lead to 31-30, but an Emily Nowak basket a minute later finally gave ACC the lead at 32-31 with 16 minutes left to play.

The Hawks tied it up with a free throw 30 seconds later, but back to back treys by Frazier with 14 minutes left to play pushed ACC to a 38-32 lead that it continued to expand throughout the half.

Holmes hit a pair of treys with just under 13 minutes left to give ACC a 47-36 lead. However, the Hawks weren’t done yet. Its defense shut down ACC scoring for four minutes, as it went on a 12 point scoring streak to take a 48-47 lead with nine minutes left to play.

The Lumberjacks answered back by outscoring the Hawks 13-3 in the last nine minutes to pick up the win. It was helped immensely by two treys from Ashleigh Monticello and slacked Hawks defense.

“The second half our shooting was a lot better and we had a lot more confidence,” Anna Carrick said.

ACC hosts Wayne at 5:30 on Wednesday.

ACC (60): C. Holmes 2 3-4 9; M. Myers 1 0-0 2; S. Bischoff 2 0-0 4; W. Frzier 7 2-2 20; K. Shepard 2 0-0 4; S. Kolb 1 0-0 3; A. Monticello 2 2-2 8; A. Nowak 2 0-0 4; E. Nowak 2 2-3 6.

HENRY FORD (55): R. Gordon 6 3-6 18; C. Milliner 3 2-2 9; S. Tolbert 4 4-8 12; A. Robinson 5 2-4 12; K. Boyd 1 1-2 4.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at ebenac@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac