The 2010 National Champions returned home to White Auditorium this Saturday in their home opener against the Golden Bears of Concordia St. Paul. The Hornets were able to control the paint and won the game 70-52.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said Head Coach Jory Collins. “I think the big tale was we missed a lot of layups in the first half. We had some gimmes that we normally are going to make, and that any college athlete ought to make that we just didn’t tonight.”
Emporia State was met with a challenge in the first half as Concordia St. Paul hung close throughout. The Hornets held the lead for the majority of the half until the Golden Bears tied the game at 18 with 6:32 remaining. Two layups by Freshman Guard Rheanna Egli sparked the Hornets as they closed the half on an 11-3 run.
Sophomore Guard Jocelyn Cummings led all scorers in the first half with eight points, three of them coming in the late first half run.
“I think definitely our defense really helped create us some offensive fast break points, just (getting the ball) down the floor to Rachel (Hanf) or just whoever getting us going, making some layups,” Cummings said.
The Hornets carried that late first half momentum into the second behind Senior Forward Alli Volkens and Cummings. The Hornets were able to push the lead to 20 at the 14:10 mark as Volkens added eight points in the run.
Emporia State continued to control the game as well as the paint as they went on to win easily 70-52. The Hornets outscored the Golden Bears 52 to 28 inside as well as outrebounding them 45 to 32.
“(Controlling the paint) was going to be our goal,” Collins said. “Concordia St. Paul lost I think three or four of their front court players, and they had some young ones playing tonight. For the most part, you control the paint with rebounding, shot blocking, and I thought we were really good in there.”
Erica Gress of Concordia St. Paul led all scorers in the game with 18 points and five rebounds.
For Emporia State, Jocelyn Cummings had 15 points along with seven rebounds, four of which were offensive. Volkens, Egli and Kelsey Balcom all ended the night scoring in double figures. Volkens led the team in rebounds with nine and added five blocks on the night.
Emporia State travels to Colorado Springs, Col. next week to play at the UCCS Invitational. Their first game will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 26.