Senior guard Tiffany Lapotsky’s layup with 27 seconds left in the game was enough to vault ESU Women’s Basketball past the LeMoyne University Dolphins on Nov. 13 at Koehler, 65-61, for the second win of the season.
This was the first home game of the new season. ESU quickly jumped out to a five-point lead, but LeMoyne battled back to tie the game at 14. This would be a theme throughout the game as the Warriors couldn’t quite shake the Dolphins until the end.
LeMoyne’s three-point basket at the end of the first quarter gave the Dolphins an early 17-14 lead.
The Warriors retook the lead with two quick baskets by junior forward Kaitlyn Swint and Lapotsky. However, the Dolphins responded with baskets of their own to lead ESU 31-26 at halftime.
ESU opened the second half by scoring seven straight points to take a 33-31 lead.
But LeMoyne was resilient. The game was tied at 46, but the Dolphins went on a 7-3 scoring run to end the quarter.
The score was 53-49 in favor of the Dolphins at the start of the fourth quarter.
The two teams continued to trade baskets, but LeMoyne still led by four points with four minutes to go.
A free throw by senior guard Jordan Hertz and a layup by junior guard Abby Schoffstall cut into the scoring deficit.
LeMoyne missed a layup on its next possession, and ESU came away with the rebound.
Schoffstall brought the ball up to half court and passed it to redshirt sophomore Julia Kutz near the free throw line.
Then Schoffstall ran a backdoor cut toward the basket, but she was well-defended by LeMoyne.
Kutz thought about passing it to Schoffstall, but she wisely held onto the ball. Lapotsky saw that a lane was open and ran toward the basket. Kutz saw Lapotsky had a step on her defender and delivered a bounce pass.
Her ensuing score would be the game-winning basket. ESU knocked down some free throws at the end of the game to make the final score 65-61 ESU.
After the game, an ecstatic Lapotsky talked about the play.
“Honestly, I don’t even know what was going through my head at the time,” Lapotsky said. “All I knew was that we had to come out with the win.”
“The backdoor was open, and I just went for it. We had a great pass by Julia Kutz, and it worked out,” Lapotsky said.
Earlier in the week, Jordan Hertz was named PSAC Women’s Basketball Defensive Player of the Week.
“Honestly, it doesn’t really matter to me as long as myself and my teammates come out and play every day, every game,” Hertz said. “We are doing it for each other.”
Hertz had a great all-around game. She had six points, 10 assists, and six rebounds.
This is the fourth year together for the backcourt duo of Hertz and Lapotsky. The two have a great rapport after playing with each other for so long.
“We just knew we wanted to play together,” Lapotsky said. “We knew we had chemistry from the start, and we’re developing it every day.”
“It’s our senior year, and we’re just going to go out and make the best of it,” Hertz said.
This is head coach Stephanie Del Preore’s first year coaching the Warriors.
“I’m super-proud of the team. I think we have a lot of fight in us. It’s nice to have our seniors step up and lead the team,” Del Preore said.
Her coaching philosophy rests on the idea of being a family.
“We’re trying to work together as a family and build the culture that way,” Del Preore said. “We don’t care how we win as long as we do it together.”
The team has embraced that notion.
“We love Coach Del Preore. She’s great. She focuses on family, and we’ve become such a great family throughout these past couples of months,” Lapotsky said.
The Warriors (2-1) will travel west to play the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown (2-1) this Saturday, Nov. 23.
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