The Newark Catholic Lady Wave faced off against Utica in the Redskins gym on Saturday night. The Green Wave got off to a slow start but continued to play to their strengths throughout the evening. The adjustments made to start the second half by Head Coach Rob Smith changed the entire complexion of this ball game. Clearly, a mentor of the game, Smith has steered the reins in the best direction for this program.
From the jump, Utica sent the message that they were not going to exit lightly on their home court. Their scrappy 2-3 zone forced difficult perimeter shots early from Newark Catholic. With that being said, it did not take much time for the Lady Wave to feed their strong interior players #25 Harlei Antritt (6”) and #34 Chloe Chard-Peloquin (6”4.) who proved their dominance throughout this contest.
As the second quarter began, Coach Smith launched a trap defense that clearly made Utica uncomfortable. Forcing the Redskins to take hurried shots led to several fastbreak opportunities for NC. Catholic began to pull away just before halftime.
At the beginning of the second half #2 Brynne Peddicord saw a corner three go through the net after starting 0-3 from downtown. The pace of the game picked up mightily as each team traded three point baskets for about 3 possessions each at a time.
A flurry of threes from Redskins’ #30 Shawna Blake and #32 Bella Coulter put the Lady Wave on their heels as it appeared that Utica might close the gap. Not to be mistaken, every big shot from Utica was answered by Newark Catholic. For example, Utica knocked down a triple to close the gap within 15 only to have #10 Brooklyn Smith answer with a corner three ball of her own as time elapsed in the third quarter.
As the fourth quarter began, fatigue began to set in for the Redskins and the intensity of their comeback deflated. Newark Catholic coasted to victory by a score of 59-31.
The Greenies are undefeated in conference play at 10-1 on the year with their lone loss coming at Granville (JAN.13th)
Let’s zoom in on what makes this Lady Wave squad special:
They rebound the orange off of the Spalding – they set the tone early and capture second chance opportunities on the offensive glass by having at least three young women crash the glass on every shot attempt.
#25 is highly skilled in the post and wastes no time getting to her spots, putting a power dribble on the floor and dropstepping her way to the hoop. She always keeps the ball high on putbacks and finishes with finesse in traffic.
#34 (former PG) can lead the break and finish in transition with a smooth euro step by her defender. Her mid-range game is also impressive.
#2 plays like she has been there before as a poised leader who is always aware of her surroundings. When she went out in the first quarter with 2 fouls, Coach later inserted her in the same half. This shows that she can be trusted and she responded accordingly by playing with great discipline on the defensive end.
Brynne (#2) has a knack for noticing when her teammates might be flustered and offers guidance whenever necessary. Additionally, she is unafraid to throw her body around and will always be the first girl to the floor for loose balls. With a constant motor as a scrappy source of energy she is the ideal floor general for this squad.
Overall, the Lady Wave conquered their opponent by utilizing their advantages underneath the basket. They had multiple blocks on defense and responded well to their coaches adjustments throughout the night. Look for them to make a deep run come tournament time.