MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Harley Adler scored a career-high 14 points and blocked four shots, while Brianna Thomas produced a 18-point, eight-assist and five-steal night, as the University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team completed the season sweep of Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a 91-72 road victory on Tuesday night at Ariel Arena.
With the victory, the RedStorm improved to 10-2 on the season - their best 12-game start since the 2007-2008 season when they won 11 of their first 12 contests.
The first half was very much back and forth, as Mount Vernon was able to connect on 14 of their 19 free throw attempts in the half to find themselves down just 39-38 at halftime.
Rio was able to take command in the second half, scoring 18 of the first 26 points to take a 57-46 lead with just over 15 minutes left in the contest.
MVNU got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
“The fact that we only got to the line 13 times tells me that we are not doing what we need to be doing to be successful,” Rio Grande head coach David Smalley said. “We need to get the ball to the glass. We were content on settling for perimeter shots and that just wasn’t working for us. I think Mount Vernon is just so close to being a good ball club and they gave us everything we wanted tonight.”
The RedStorm finished the game shooting 54 percent from the field (39 of 72), 20 percent from beyond the arc (4 of 20), and 69 percent from the free throw line (9 of 13), while the Cougars shot 35 percent from the field (20 of 57), 23 percent from three-point land (3 of 13), and 74 percent from the foul line (29 of 39).
Rio Grande owned a slim rebound margin by grabbing 38 boards to Mount Vernon’s 37 rebounds.
The aforementioned performances of the junior Thomas (Maplewood, NJ) and sophomore Adler (Burton, OH) were followed by freshman Kaylyn Gambill’s (Ashland, KY) 11-point performance which included a trio of three-pointers, and 10 points apiece from sophomore Sarah Bonar (Hartford, OH) and freshman Alexis Payne (Deep Water, WV).
Adler and Payne led the RedStorm rebounding attack with five each, while freshman Sharday Baines (East Cleveland, OH) joined Thomas in leading the squad with eight assists.
“We tell our guards that we want them to score, but we love assists,” said Smalley. “Sharday is almost a master at passing the ball in this offense that we run.”
Leading Mount Vernon (1-9) on the evening was Amy Daniels with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Megan Beidelman and Kate Walls had 19 and 14 points, respectively.
Rio Grande will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 21, when it makes the long trek to Phillipi, W.Va., to face Alderson-Broaddus University.