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Eagles overcome slow start to stay undefeated at home
College Women's Basketball

Embry Riddle’s Melissa Pfeifer (24) takes a shot as the Eagles face the Lincoln Christian Red Lions Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Embry Riddle’s Melissa Pfeifer (24) takes a shot as the Eagles face the Lincoln Christian Red Lions Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

PRESCOTT — After 12 games under first-year coach Michael Trujillo, the Embry-Riddle women’s basketball team finds themselves at 10-2 (1-0 Cal Pac) and undefeated at home, after yet another home victory Thursday.

The Eagles didn’t come out with their typical energy, according to coach Trujillo, but a solid second half and fourth quarter propelled them to the 81-72 victory over the visiting Lincoln Christian Red Lions.

In the win, it was the junior guards that came up the biggest with Jazlyn Maletino scoring 16, Danae Ruiz adding 15 and Haley Villegas contributing 14 for the Eagles.

In the victory, it seemed like a tail of two halves for the Eagles, but statistically they were very similar. The Eagles scored 40 points in the first half and 41 points in the second half, while also giving up 37 and 32 points. Although the scoreboard didn’t show it, the effort was more apparent in the second half. The Eagles found more success with their press, forcing turnovers which led to easier baskets and more opportunities.

For junior guard Jenna Knudson, “a win is a win,” but that slow start is something they want to fix.

“We didn’t come out with the energy to start but we picked it up a little bit in the second half and we would like to pride ourselves especially at home with having more energy but it wasn’t there tonight,” Knudson said. “I can guarantee you, next game we’re going to bring the energy and we’re going to bring the effort.”

For coach Trujillo, he was aware of the fact that his team didn’t play with its normal defensive energy but gave credit to his team’s offense for keeping them in the game. There were things that he liked and would like his team to take away from today’s game.

“I thought one thing that we’ll watch on film was our motion and our movement,” Trujillo said. “I thought we had really good player movement and we did a good job moving the ball and finding those open shooters. We tweaked some things that we were doing defensively earlier in the year that we got away from tonight so we’ll look at that specifically. We only gave up seven offensive rebound but it felt like more so that’s one of the things we’ll probably address more (as well).” After this victory, the Eagles will only play one more game before they hit the heart of conference play with seven straight games to end the year. It will be a tough road once again, after finishing second last year with a record of 11-2.

The Eagles will be tasked with playing Antelope Valley, UC Merced and Benedictine Mesa to name a few.

Heading into conference play the Eagles are averaging 75 points per game, while only giving up 56 points. Knudson wants to see her team pick up the effort even more. “(We want to) improve our defensive effort,” Knudson said. “We pride ourselves on the defensive end and we didn’t really do that tonight; we were more focused on the offensive end and really dictating on the defensive end like we would’ve liked too.”

UP NEXT

The Eagles will be in action at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, when they take on the visiting Bethesda Flames at the Activity Center.

Chris Whitcomb is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @AZChris32. Email him at cwhitcomb@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.

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