Fast Start Propels Clarion Women’s Hoops Over Mansfield

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A fast start helped the Clarion University women’s basketball team to its second straight win with a 73-47 PSAC Crossover victory over visiting Mansfield Saturday afternoon at Tippin Gym.

(Photo of Tyra Polite. Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 17-0 lead over the Mountaineers, coached by Keystone graduate Mike Whitling, and led 21-3 at the end of the first quarter. It marked the second straight quick start for Clarion, which built a 16-2 lead on its way to a 117-42 win over Penn State Greater Allegheny Tuesday.

“I am (happy) with our urgency,” Clarion head coach Jana Ashley said. “I am happy with our ability to get some stops early. We hit some shots, but we held them to three points for a long time.”

Ashley was happiest with Clarion’s defensive effort, as the Golden Eagles (4-4 overall, 2-1 PSAC West) limited Mansfield (1-4, 0-3) to 19 of 63 shooting (30.2 percent) including 7 of 31 in the first half while forcing 18 Mountaineers turnovers thanks in part to 10 steals.

“That was a goal for us (keeping them under 50 points),” Ashley said. “We know we shoot the ball really well on some nights. But on the nights that our shots aren’t falling, we know we have to get stops. If we can hold teams under 50 points, I feel pretty confident that our team will be able to stick around long enough for the offense to start making plays.”

Saturday was a good example of what Ashley was talking about.

Clarion didn’t play all that well offensively shooting 40.9 percent (27 of 66) from the floor including 37.1 percent (13 of 35) in the first half but still led by 20, 37-17, at halftime. The Golden Eagles also turned the ball over 21 times allowing Mansfield to outscore them off turnovers, 17-15.

“The thing I was disappointed in is we came back in the second quarter and let them play even with us,” Ashley said. “We started looking at the scoreboard and got a little careless with the ball.”

Tyra Polite led Clarion with 18 points, eight rebounds, two steals and an assist.

“Tyra leads us in all aspects,” Ashley said. “Besides being our leading scorer, she is probably our best defender.”

Watch Ashley’s full remarks.

Quorea Pearyer added 13 points, five rebounds and four assists for Clarion, while Jordan Bekelja had 11 points and six boards but also turned the ball over seven times. Delrika Jones-Carey had a game-high 12 rebounds and just missed a double-double finishing with nine points. Venango Catholic grad Taylor Moltz had another solid game with six points, six rebounds and three assists.

Brielle Kelly had a double-double for Mansfield with 13 points and 10 points, and Bella Ricci added 13 points.

“In some respects, I am still getting to know the team and how they play and trying to adjust as much to my style as I can without going all haywire,” Whitling, who was coaching his first game as a head coach against his alma mater, said. “It’s definitely a work in progress.”

Clarion returns to action Sunday when it hosts Lock Haven at 1 p.m.

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