FRANKLIN, IND. – A balanced scoring attack and hard-nosed defensive effort proved to be the recipe Manchester University needed for an important Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference road victory Wednesday, Jan. 29.
The Spartans, improving to 9-9 overall and 6-5 in league play, limited the host Grizzlies (10-8, 8-3 HCAC) to just over 30 percent shooting from the field and a 22.2 percent mark from outside the arc en route to a 56-43 win. They scored 15 of the game's first 22 points but had to thwart rallies from the home team in each half to gain the decision.
"It was a good defensive battle," Manchester University head coach Josh Dzurick said. " (The game) started out with a really close-knit first half, as both defenses settled in. It was good to see (our defense play that way) after our last couple of games, as we hadn't been playing that type of defense. I was happy to see us get back, communicate and talk."
Junior forward Abby Lang (Indianapolis, Ind.) helped power the effort leading the way in scoring (13 points) and rebounding (seven boards). Sophomore guard Justine Kruger (Francisville, Ind.), who had entered the game on a strong offensive roll, picked up where she had left off at home against Earlham College Jan. 25 by tallying 12 points and grabbing two steals. Sophomore center Stephanie Barmes (Greenwood, Ind.) came off the bench to add 10 points.
"It seemed like so many of our players hit big shots here and there," Dzurick said. "It was a good team win … a Manchester style of game as we grinded it out. We got our energy level back tonight, too, especially in the second half, as the team played very hard."
MU, remaining fifth on the league standings and just a game out of the top four, returns home for a meeting with conference-leading Transylvania University Saturday, Feb. 1. Game time at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena is 1 p.m.
NOTES: Lang's scoring total was a personal single-game career high for the junior forward … Kruger's double-figure total was her fifth such in the last seven games. Her scoring average continues to climb in the span being up nearly three points (4.7 – 7.2) … Barmes earned her fourth double-digit scoring game of the season … Junior guard Jocelyn Hamilton (Columbus, Ind.) ran her multiple-assist string to 18 straight games with four. Her season total of 109 ranks among the top nine all-time efforts at MU.