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HCC women get mad to get even

December 15, 2003|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

While many coaches are quick to point fingers and assign blame, HCC women's basketball coach Marlys Palmer has always believed in issuing challenges.

So it was after the Hawks suffered a disappointing loss at Southern Maryland College Friday night in a game they should have won.

Palmer challenged her guards to take charge, knock down the difficult shots and control the tempo of the game. The response was immediate and decided.

Hagerstown rushed to an early double-digit lead and easily held on to defeat Alfred State College 87-65 at the HCC athletic complex on Saturday.

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HCC (7-2), playing an aggressive, almost angry style, dived after every loose ball and attacked the Pioneers with the zeal of sharks in a feeding frenzy. The Hawks built a 41-9 lead in the first 10 minutes while playing a smothering man defense. The Hawks created 17 steals and forced 38 turnovers in the game.

"We lacked intensity Friday night," HCC guard Eariel Gholson said. "We decided to get aggressive and to take it out on (Alfred) from the start."

The Hawks opened with a 24-6 run, raining shots in from all over the floor while Gholson hit a pair of 3s to spot Hagerstown to a 30-plus point lead throughout most of the half.

"We are good but a little small up front." Palmer said. "I challenged our guards to make some difficult shots and loosen up those tight zones. Every team will try to stay packed in against us."

Alfred stayed packed in a tight 3-2 zone in an attempt to force the HCC guards into poor decisions.

But the play of Veronica Johnson, Gholson and Dee Brown only forced the Pioneers into some troublesome matchups defensively.

"This team needs a challenge to play well," Brown said. "We are still a little angry about Friday night, but today, we met the challenge."

Palmer agreed.

"This is the highest 3-point production of the season for us and we took the ball away twice for every time they took it from us." Palmer said. "Before today, we just were not shooting the ball. I told our guards to put it up - they always have the green light."

"We need to play like this all the time," Brown said. "We are not comfortable as a comeback type team. We are team that needs to build that lead and have control from the start."

"We caught (Alfred) at the best time for us." Palmer said. We were a little frustrated and I think they were a little surprised."

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