Patriots top rival Bulldogs on the road
The win pushes MAU's record to 9-6 on the season. After starting 1-4, the Patriots have won eight of their last 10 games.
Despite what the end result showed, it was the Bulldogs who were in control in the first quarter.
BBA outscored MAU 10-6 in the first, on the back of some nice play by senior Emily Bleakie. Bleakie matched the Patriots total in the quarter with six points in the frame.
She used her height well in the first quarter and MAU struggled to contain her.
The Patriots would recognize this though and they would do what they've done all season - make adjustments and take control.
MAU outscored the Bulldogs in each of the next three quarters to take the game handily.
A major reason for the Patriots surge was the duo of Grace Mahar and Anna Iannotti. The pair have been the unquestioned go-to players all season long for MAU and that continued Monday.
Mahar led the Patriots with 21 points and 12 rebounds, racking up another double-double, something she has done consistently this season.
MAU coach AJ Mahar thought Grace Mahar settled in very well once the game got going.
"She got into a nice little rhythm," AJ Mahar said. "She found the spots where she could score on their defense. They did a nice job on her and once she settled in, she found spots where she could attack."
Iannotti was strong in her own right with 10 points. Junior Cat Worthington provided a boost for MAU as well with seven points.
For BBA, Bleakie led the way. The senior forward scored 12 in the contest, with nine of those coming in the first half.
AJ Mahar thought as the game went on his team did a better job of containing BBA's biggest threat.
"To be honest, we didn't go a great job scouting coming into this game and they didn't know what to expect," AJ Mahar said. "Once they saw her and found her tendencies, they settled in at the same time defensively and I think that showed as the game went on."
MAU used multiple people to cover Bleakie at times in the contest, with both Sam White and Kaity O'Brien seeing solid minutes covering her.
Freshman guard Madelyn Goebel had a nice second half for the Bulldogs, as she notched six of her eight points in after halftime.
A major missed opportunity for BBA was its struggles from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs shot just 33 percent from the charity stripe. With success at the line, it could have provided them momentum, but their struggles there made a major difference in the game.
The MAU defensive effort was clear to see throughout. Monday marked the seventh time this season the Patriots have held a team under forty points.
"We've been what I consider really good defensively and just okay," said AJ Mahar of the team's defensive tendencies this season. "I thought tonight was closer to the really good end. One place where we did a great job that contributed to 33 we allowed, was that we did a great job of rebounding."
BBA falls to 5-10 on the season.
The Bulldogs are back in action on Saturday on the road against Lamoille. The Patriots will play Rutland on the road Thursday, before its toughest test of the season against undefeated CVU Saturday.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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