DALLAS — No need for any last-second heartburn this time around. No overtime or last-second shots.
For the King’s women’s basketball team, this was a long time coming.
The Lady Monarchs picked up their first league win of the season that didn’t go down to the wire, knocking off Misericordia 70-59 on Tuesday at the Anderson Center.
King’s (7-17, 3-10 Freedom) had survived a buzzer beater that forced overtime before beating the Cougars last month and held off a late Manhattanville surge to win on Saturday.
It was also the first time King’s had won consecutive games in 2013-14.
“Significantly better defensively,” King’s coach Brian Donoghue said of his team’s last two games. “Not just rebounding but positioning. Getting it to primary scorers. Not putting our opponent on the foul line.
“Just all the things that you hope happen have happened. And it’s been with multiple combinations, that’s the part to stress the most. It hasn’t just been the starters or the older guys.”
Junior Marissa Manning and freshman Kayla Feairheller scored 21 apiece for the Lady Monarchs
As in the first meeting between the teams, the Lady Monarchs stifled the Cougars early, leading by as many as 17 points late in the half.
“We get off to slow starts and we have to expend all of our energy trying to come back,” Misericordia coach Allison Kern said. “We got ourselves into a hole again today. Then we come back, and by then we’re fizzled out.”
Misericordia made the charge late in the first half to cut the deficit down to 34-24 headed into halftime.
Twice after the break the Cougars were able to pull within three points at 41-38 and 50-47 only for King’s to pull away. An 11-0 run by the Lady Monarchs at 50-47 all but sealed things up.
King’s went to the foul line 22 times in the second half and finished the game 23-of-31 from the stripe to preserve the lead.
“We were able to withstand a good team making that run, especially in their building,” Donoghue said. “Our decision-making just got better in the second half. The beginning of the half we weren’t making great decisions and Misericordia jumped all over us.
“Once we withstood that, we just worked our way back.”
Nikki Baro finished with 13 to lead the Cougars (8-15, 4-9) while Sam Baro scored 11.
It was the final home game for four Misericordia seniors in starters Seely and Katie Drayton, reserve Kelsey Wantz and injured starter Lauren Smicherko, last season’s leading scorer who has been out with an torn ACL. Wantz has also battled knee injuries throughout her career.
Seely finished with 10 points, Drayton had nine and Wantz scored four off the bench.
The group contributed to the program’s first conference championship since joining the Freedom Conference and led the transition to a new system under Kern.
“It actually can’t be overstated what these four kids have meant,” Kern said. “Not just to this program, but to me personally. The commitment they brought and just buying into our system. What they’ve brought to this program and where it’s going means a lot.”
Cougars support Donoghue
Misericordia held “Play for Gray Day” on Tuesday, donating proceeds from ticket sales of both games of the doubleheader to the family of Donoghue, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last summer.
KING’S (70) — Kasey Seitz 0-4 6-6 6, Jessica McHugh 0-4 1-2 1, Jennifer Fabian 4-9 4-4 13, Kayla Feairheller 8-18 3-6 21, Marissa Manning 7-14 7-11 21, Taylor Sweeney 0-0 0-0 0, Katie Dugan 0-0 0-0 0, Sara Krupinski 2-3 0-0 4, Tara Zdancewicz 1-3 2-2 4. Totals 22-55 23-31 70.
MISERICORDIA (59) — Hannah Seely 5-12 0-1 10, Katie Drayton 3-15 2-2 9, Shannon Croasdale 2-11 2-2 6, Sam Baro 5-15 0-0 11, Nikki Baro 6-13 1-1 13, Amanda Greene 2-3 0-0 4, Lauren Oertner 1-1 0-0 2, Kelsey Wantz 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 26-74 5-6 59.
Halftime — King’s, 34-24
Three-point field goals — KC 3-16 (Feairheller 2-7, Fabian 1-2, Manning 0-1, Seitz 0-2, McHugh 0-4); MU 2-15 (Drayton 1-3, S. Baro 1-8, Croasdale 0-2, Wantz 0-2)