Welch, Ezeani Lead Gophers to Win over Fighting Squirrels

Welch, Ezeani Lead Gophers to Win over Fighting Squirrels

WESTMINSTER, Md. — Sophomores Monique Welch (Reisterstown, Md./Franklin) and Amaka Ezeani (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) each set career-highs in points, leading the Goucher women's basketball team to a 74-56 win over Mary Baldwin, giving the Gophers their first win of the season in the process in the consolation game of the McDaniel Tip-Off Tournament.

Welch led the way with 19 points, hitting 7 of 8 shots from the free throw line, while Ezeani added 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting from the field. Sharnell Huff (Bowie, Md./Bowie) also scored in double figures, finishing with 12 points, while India Perkins (Brentwood, Md./Bladensburg) just missed a double-double after totaling nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

Welch earned a spot on the All-Tournament team for Goucher (1-1), which pulled away in the second half after a sluggish first 20 minutes.

The Gophers led 28-26 over the Fighting Squirrels (0-2) at the break, with neither team shooting over 33.3 percent from the floor. The squads also combined for 27 turnovers before halftime.

Goucher, though, had only six giveaways in the second half. After Mary Baldwin hit a free throw to cut its deficit to 36-33 with 17:05 remaining, the Gophers went on 14-2 run to put the game out of reach. Huff played a key part in the stretch, hitting a two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws.

Goucher shot 53.1 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes, upping its game total to 43.5 percent. The Gopher defense also forced the Fighting Squirrels into 24 turnovers for the game.

Welch's previous career-high before this afternoon had been a three-point performance at Scranton last season. Ezeani, meanwhile, surpassed her previous high of 14 points, which was set against Merchant Marine in February. Perkins' nine-point output was also a career-high, besting her previous mark of six points during her freshman season.

The Gophers return to action Wednesday at 5 p.m. against Notre Dame (Md.) in their home opener from the Decker & Sports Recreation Center.