St. Thomas More struggled offensively throughout the night, never able to break through St. Michael’s intense on-ball defense on the way to a 46-27 road loss.
The Cougars (15-5) were down from the beginning after Warriors guard Alex Wicker dropped in two straight from 3-point range, giving St. Michael a lead it never relinquished.
St. Michael coach Tami Reynolds-Robertson said the early advantage energized her team and led to the extra effort on defense.
“They had a great game plan and executed it will,” STM coach Stephen Strojny said. “They were just better than us, tonight. No excuses.”
Cougars freshman guard Megan Abrams, usually a lynchpin of the team’s offense, didn’t score her first bucket until late in the second quarter.
The Warriors (18-9) designed their defense around Abrams talents, forcing the left-handed guard to go to her right, limiting her effectiveness.
Reynolds-Robertson said the Warriors planned for Abrams, and was happy with how her team defended the “incredibly talented” freshman.
Abrams finished with 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting, and five turnovers, a team high.
“Tonight wasn’t indicative of the type of player (Abrams) is,” Strojny said. “She can go right just as well as she can go left, both hands are strong. She just didn’t have it tonight.”
Cougars senior Allyson Howard sat out because of an injury, but Strojny said if it was a playoff game Howard could have played.
STM guard Carley Sloane was the Cougars co-leading scorer, along with Abrams, finishing with 10 points.
The game was blown open in the third quarter, with the Warriors holding the Cougars to four points, while pouring in 18 to extend their lead.
Warriors guard Tyler Morrison finished with 17 points, including shooting 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
Stronjy said the Cougars, due to scheduling mishaps, were playing with dead legs and didn’t have the right energy level to play the game.
The game between the Cougars and Warriors was originally scheduled for Jan. 28, but was rescheduled because of traffic problems and the Cougars being unable to make it to Baton Rouge.
“I can’t blame the girls for tonight. This one is on me,” Strojny said. “Unfortunately, the entire team had an off night, and we’ve got to remember that these girls are teenagers and things like this happen.”
“I can’t fault the girls’ effort level at all, we just couldn’t execute. And at this point in the season effort isn’t enough, you need to be able to execute.”