Devils left feeling Blue
Einink’s 20 not enough as FSU drops home opener
The Fredonia Blue Devils women’s basketball team lost to Hilbert, 64-55, on Monday night at Steele Hall.
The game could not have started worse for Fredonia, as Hilbert (2-3) jumped out to a 9-0 lead right out of the gates. Fredonia closed the quarter better than it began, but still trailed 13-7 after the initial period of play.
The second quarter was an improvement for Fredonia. Despite 10 turnovers from the Lady Blue Devils, shots began to fall for Fredonia. The deficit was erased when Fredonia (1-4) evened the score at 20-20. Hilbert was ahead 25-23 at the half.
Hilbert came out firing in the second half, just as it did at the beginning of the game. The visitors went on an 8-0 run in the first two minutes of the second half, stretching the margin to double digits. After three, Hilbert led 47-35.
Just as the first and third quarters were eerily similar, so were the second and fourth. Fredonia, despite trailing by 16 points in the fourth quarter, battled back to within five.
Hilbert responded with six straight points.
Fredonia then cut it to within five once again, thanks to back-to-back threes by junior guard Justice Nauden. Yet, Hilbert would not break.
“We locked in a little bit more,” said Hilbert coach Amy Senefelder.
Fredonia did not score on its final three possessions.
“I think we pressed a little bit,” said Fredonia coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. “We took some shots that were a little out of our wheel-house.”
Hill-MacDonald noted that the energy and emotional toll it took to battle back from such a large deficit may have played a part in the final three possessions.
“Emotionally, we weren’t in a good place,” said Hill-MacDonald. “We made some bad decisions with the basketball.”
Hilbert never trailed in the game, despite shooting only 2-for-16 from beyond the arc.
Hilbert was led by sophomore guard Emily Gawlak with 17 points, while playing all 40 minutes in the game. Junior forward Katelyn Proy added 14 points, along with a game-high 13 rebounds, despite missing half of the first half due to foul trouble.
“The fact that Katelyn Proy came back in the game impacted tremendously,” said Hill-MacDonald.
Fredonia junior forward Jenna Einink, a Westfield native and Chautauqua Lake High school graduate, led Fredonia with 20 points, despite not scoring in the first quarter and missing her last game with a sprained ankle. Einink did not start the game, although she played 32 minutes.
Hill-MacDonald said Einink was playing “limited minutes,” blaming the injury for her absence from the starting lineup. Hill-MacDonald added, “We always need Jenna in there.”
Justice Nauden put up 14 points in 24 minutes off the bench for Fredonia.
“Justice had one of her better games all season,” said Hill-MacDonald.
Hilbert now heads into conference play with a lot of confidence after an important road win.
“It’s a good win on the road for us,” said Senefelder. “We’re ready to start conference play.”
Monday’s game was the second game of a back-to-back, which will be something Fredonia will deal with again this weekend, playing another set of games in consecutive days on Friday and Saturday. Both games will be on the road, at Plattsburgh and at Potsdam.
“This is a long, rough week for us,” said Hill-MacDonald.
Fredonia hopes that with leading scorer Einink back in the lineup, the tables will turn in the Blue Devils’ favor.
NOTES: Ashley Repine, a Sinclairville native and Cassadaga Valley High School graduate, played 25 minutes for Hilbert and scored nine points, also grabbing six rebounds. … Forestville native Alisha Szumigala had two points in 16 minutes of play for Fredonia.