Women’s Basketball: Huskies take third at Hawkeye Challenge

By: Justin Clear-Vekinis, News Correspondent

The women’s basketball team beat Northern Colorado University 61-53 Sunday to take third-place in the Hawkweye Challenge, which was held in Iowa City, Iowa and snapped a three-game losing streak.

Head coach Daynia La-Force Mann said the win came from executing a good game plan.

“[We] mixed it up and switched defensively so that we could disrupt their offense,” she said.”

Sophomore forward Rachael Pecota, who led the Huskies in scoring in the first two games of the season, scored a team-high 17 points and added six steals.

“She’s key,” La-Force Mann said. “She’s a very smart player. Offensively, she shoots the ball very well and she’s one of our leading scorers because she is so versatile. She can go to the basket and she helps to create opportunities for others.”

After Saturday, Pecota said team members knew they couldn’t lose, and said she was impressed with the team’s defensive efforts.

“I think everyone knew how important that game was,” Pecota said. “We couldn’t lose four games in a row. “Our defensive press really helped us win the game. We pushed them hard and caused a lot of turnovers that we capitalized on and helped us score.”

Senior forward Mia Mayberry recorded her first double-double of her career while scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Her performance landed her on the Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament Team.

“Mia had a really great game,” Pecota said. “She stepped up when we needed her to.”

Junior Dani Iervolino shot three 3-pointers for a season-high of nine points. Fellow classmate Jamie Conroy added a team-high eight assists in addition to her five points.

La-Force Mann said poor rebounding continued to plague the women’s basketball team in the Hawkeye Challenge this weekend.

Prior to Sunday’s victory, the Huskies lost to No. 21 Iowa University 87-59 in the first round Saturday and were out-rebounded 51-27, while giving up 19 offensive rebounds to the Hawkeyes.

“Rebounding is clearly our weakest point right now, and is something that we’re going to continue to work on to improve and be able to compete and win games” head coach Daynia La-Force Mann said. “It’s something that’s kind of been our nemesis the first three games. We have to do a better job on the defensive board, with boxing out and limiting them to one possession.”

Sophomore forward Rachael Pecota said the team lost focus after falling behind seven points going into halftime.

“I think we came out hard and strong; we knew what we had to do,” Pecota said. “We were down seven but then in the second half, we let go of our principles. We gave up in a sense – a lot of people felt we were already defeated and were walking off the court, which added to a lower morale.”

Senior forward Mia Mayberry contributed a career-high nine rebounds, eight points and two blocks in the loss, while sophomore guard Afreyea Tolbert managed seven rebounds in addition to her 12 points.

The Huskies now stand at 1-3 on the season, and take a week off before facing Army on Nov. 29 at West Point, N.Y.