Late Wilkes Run Dooms Goucher in Season Opener

Late Wilkes Run Dooms Goucher in Season Opener

WESTMINSTER, Md. — In both teams' season debuts, Goucher and Wilkes battled back-and-forth throughout a majority of tonight's contest, but in the end it was the Colonels who pulled away late to send the Gophers to a 67-56 defeat.

Goucher outshot Wilkes in all categories, but was ultimately done in by a 19-6 turnover disparity. The Gophers will face Mary Baldwin at 4 p.m. tomorrow in the consolation game of the McDaniel Tip-Off Tournament.

Sharnell Huff (Bowie, Md./Bowie) powered the Goucher attack with 22 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Taje Burston (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Central) added 14 points and six boards in her collegiate debut.

The Gopher offense started the game on fire, hitting five of its first six shots and jumping out to an early 12-5 lead. Huff had 10 points in the opening seven minutes, nailing two of her four 3-pointers for the contest during that span. Her 22 points is the most she has scored in a game since pouring in a career-high 24 on Jan. 15, 2010 against Merchant Marine during her freshman season.

Wilkes fought back and took a 30-28 lead into the intermission, despite Goucher hitting 50.0 percent of its shots compared to 35.1 percent for the Colonels.

The game remained close for the first 12 minutes of the second half. A 3-pointer from Precious Kollock (Baltimore, Md./Patapsco) tied the score at 46 apiece with 8:53 remaining. Wilkes, though, would then go on a 12-0 run over the next six-plus minutes, and the Gophers were unable to recover.

After not making more than four 3-pointers in any game last season, Goucher drilled seven of its 17 shots from long distance tonight. The Colonels controlled the glass, holding a 48-35 rebounding advantage. Monique Welch (Reisterstown, Md./Franklin) had a team-high eight boards for the Gophers. Both teams struggled from the free throw line, with each squad shooting under 50 percent for the contest.

Elena Stambone led Wilkes with 25 points, hitting 8 of 24 shots from the field and 6 of 11 free throw attempts. The Colonels will face McDaniel in the tournament's championship game at 6 p.m. tomorrow.

Goucher, meanwhile, will look to rebound against Mary Baldwin. The Fighting Squirrels lost 77-26 to McDaniel in the tournament's opening game this evening.