It would have been easy for the Tigers to lose their heads in their opener this past Saturday. The topsy-turvy basketball game saw each team blow 12-point leads.
Just after Capital mounted their comeback to tie the game with three minutes and 30 seconds left in the game, Enri Small, ’15, was able to remain poised and find room behind the three-point line and sink a shot to give the Tigers the lead they would never relinquish.
The Tigers opened the winter season for the Pam Evans Smith Arena with a 70-67 victory over the Capital Crusaders. The Tigers came out of a slow start, in which they fell behind by 12 in the first half of the game. They were, however, able to build upon clutch three-pointers to mount a run with 10 minutes left in the first half and claim a 32-30 halftime lead.
The Tigers sunk nine of their 13 three-pointers on the day, good for 69.2 percent on the day. The Tigers were led in that department by senior Katelyn Haralamos, who hit all five of her attempts from beyond the arc in the season opener. Haralamos added two assists and five rebounds to her 23 points. Small added 16 points on the day, and was joined by Darbie Zirkle, ’15, who had 14 points of her own.
Small was also central to the Tigers’ defensive effort. The 5’8″ senior guard amassed two steals and a block to go along with three rebounds. The Tigers were able to keep the Crusaders in foul trouble, reaching the double bonus in both periods, such as with almost 9 minutes left in the first half. The Tigers were able to draw two quick fouls from Kristen Thompson, relegating the forward and last year’s leading rebounder to the Crusader bench.
The Crusaders were led in scoring by Jenna Erwin. The forward notched 11 points off the bench, and was closely followed by a trio of teammates who each scored 10.
The exciting game saw four lead changes and one tie. The Tigers were able to respond after their slow start to mount a charge and overtake Capital’s 12-point lead, as well as to take a two-point advantage into the half. The second half saw the Tigers build their lead to 12 just six minutes into the half, but spent the next 10 minutes watching it trickle away.
The Tigers will travel to Marietta for a non-conference showdown before they head to Wheaton College in Illinois to take on Aurora and Claremont in the Beth Baker Classic. The Tigers’ next home contest is Tuesday, Nov. 25, when they will welcome Otterbein to the Pam Evans Smith Arena.