Women’s basketball, coming off a five-game losing streak played the Hawks of Delaware Technical Community College on Saturday, Dec. 2 for the final home game of the fall 2017 semester.
Illness, finals and other factors took a hard toll on the availability of Head Coach Mike Tenaglia’s roster as he was down to only five active players.
Before the game, Tenaglia said “We’ve had some issues with things I can’t discuss at this point in time, so we’d have to play very well. We have to execute…I’ll have to do a decent job with my timeouts and that sort of stuff and use them correctly and at the right time.”
To break their losing streak all of the starting five players had to play the full 40 minutes. According to Coach Tenaglia, they employed a low-speed game plan, reducing the tempo of the game to minimize fatigue.
The Vikings faced Hawks’ line up which included point guard Aliyah Selby, an all-state first team selection in the state of Delaware, and center Breanna Grant an all-state second team selection.
Hawks Head Coach Jim Kane said of Tenaglia, “He’s a very good coach he adjusts well, he always plays the appropriate defense against the appropriate offense.”
According to Coach Kane, the Hawks were able to rotate three centers and four guards throughout the game; this created a distinct disadvantage for the Mercer Vikings.
Del Tech scored the first nine points of the game putting Mercer in an early hole, but toward the end of the first quarter Viking freshman forward Tynisha Livingston stepped up, scoring 7 of Mercer’s first 11 points and helping to tie the game at 11. Livingston went on to finish with a game-leading 24 points.
The Vikings finished the half with a 22 to 9 run to take a four point lead. Forward Haylee Kieffer, one of Mercer’s leading scorers, was not a factor in the first half as she did not score. Kieffer got it going in the second, however, scoring the first five points of the half including the first three pointer of the game.
Kieffer told The VOICE, “In the first half I was trying to score so much and that I was trying too hard to score that I wasn’t able to, so once I took all that stress off and I was like ‘I’m good just play’ then that’s when I started scoring.”
Kiefer’s second half adjustments helped push the Mercer lead to 11, but then they hit another setback. Sophomore point guard Shanice Palms was forced to come out of the game after twisting her ankle, leaving only four Vikings on the floor.
Palms said, “I was going up for the layup and I usually do a two step move but I couldn’t get my foot around so it kind of twisted.”
Del Tech failed to take advantage of Palms injury, only cutting the lead by a single point before Palms came back in. Palms finished the game with a double double scoring 16 points and racking up 10 rebounds.
From there the Mercer lead only expanded as an uneventful fourth quarter ultimately yielded a 60-42 Mercer victory, the team’s first since Nov. 11.
“I think they had a great effort, I also think the tempo of the game suited us we talked about it at half time. [Del Tech] never increased their tempo which allowed us to do what we do best, slow the game down.” Tenaglia said.
Del Tech meanwhile fell to 3-8 to lose their sixth game in a row.