LHU women’s basketball drop season opener to IUP, 80-46

LOCK HAVEN — It certainly wasn’t the way LHU women’s basketball coach Jennifer Smith hoped to open the 2016-17 home season.

As the result of lack of execution coupled with many mistakes on both ends of the floor, the Lady Eagles fell to the IUP Crimson Hawks, 80-46, before an enthusiastic crowd at Thomas Field House.

“We are a young team,” said LHU head coach Jennifer Smith. “We have some inexperienced players so it is going to take time. That is usually the way our program works. We need to work through things in the beginning of the season, we need to get minutes, work hard and grow. We are going to have some games like this one early so we are just going to have to take the positives from it and believe that it is going to be better the next day.”

The Lady Hawks bolted out to an 8-2 lead in the first three minutes before extending their advantage to 22-9 at the first turn.

The big keys to the Hawks success was their getting good looks as a result of a fast-paced transition game coupled with a solid in-your-face defense.

“Our transition defense has been one of our big issues early in the season that we have been spending a lot of time on,” said Smith. “We are taking some steps forward with that and we are getting there. We came out in a new defense for us (1-3-1) and I think we might have to go back to our bread and butter which is our half-court man. From now it is going to be a lot of half-court man until we can get things ironed out.”

Although the Lady Eagles played much better ball in the second period, the Lady Hawks were able to tack an additional point onto their lead (31-17) at the break.

One glaring stat at halftime was in field goal shooting where IUP came in at 42 percent to just 27 for LHU. The Lady Eagles also turned the ball over 13 times in the half.

For the game, those two statistical areas didn’t get any better as LHU only shot 31 percent while turning the ball over 30 times.

“With those numbers, you don’t have a chance,” Smith said. “Everybody had at least one turnover except for one person so we have to keep moving forward. It’s early so we have to keep plugging away and keep our confidence up knowing that we can get it together.”

Keeping their foot on the throttle, the Lady Hawks scored the first 12 points of the third period to open up a commanding 43-17 lead and they never looked back.

Leading LHU in the scorebook was a pair of players who came off the bench in Madison McHale with 11 and Kayla Henderson with 10.

For IUP, Carolyn Appleby led all scorers in the game with 20 points.

FREE THROWS: Freshman Kenneh Maimuna finished with five points and seven rebounds…..Lysa Mealing continues to do her thing off the glass with eight rebounds…..Jalyn Shelton-Burleigh with another solid performance that included seven boards and a half dozen points…..Ayanda McGill-Jefferson chipped in with six points.