Cardinal outscored host Wickliffe by 20 points in the third quarter on the way to a 67-45 win on Wednesday in the Chagrin Valley Conference opener for both teams.
The win snapped a two-game skid for the Huskies.
“Last week was a tough week for all of us as we lost two games in a row by a one-point margin, both to teams we were capable of beating with a little better play,” Cardinal coach Luke Kruse said. “You lose one close game and can sort of chalk it up to a bad night, but two in a row was a real test for us in how we would respond and forces you to take a hard look at your habits and mistakes. We knew that this game was crucial to get ourselves back on track and also with it being the start of CVC play.”
Cardinal led 14-10 after the first quarter and 28-25 at halftime.
Wickliffe’s Stephanie Martin kept the Blue Devils in the game in the first half. Cardinal made an adjustment at halftime and went on a 22-2 run in the third quarter.
“The third quarter was the key for us tonight,” Kruse said. “We let Wickliffe hang around for a half. Stephanie Martin is a tough player and was able to get to the lane on us for a while in the first half. We cleaned that up and our press started to wear them down to the point where we went on a 22-2 run to give us a nice lead heading into the fourth quarter.”
Brittni Lawrence led the Huskies with 20 points and also added 12 rebounds, four blocked shots and committed just one personal foul.
“I thought it was her best career game and we needed that from her tonight,” Kruse said. “I’m really proud of her improvement on the defensive end and how she has limited her fouls down low.”
Lawrence credited her teammates for finding her in the paint.
“My team looking inside for me was the main reason I got all my scoring opportunities,” she said. “We’ve been working on getting the ball inside a lot because of our height advantage and we did a great job of doing so. I’ve also been working a lot on my shots down low and going for the rebounds in practices, so I just took everything I’ve worked on and put it into tonight’s game.”
Camille Cummins added 17 points and a team-high 20 rebounds. She also recorded four steals.
“Camille has a way of making a 20 rebound game look like just another day at the office, but her hustle to grab the boards and ability to get into the key and create shots for herself and her teammates can’t be taken for granted,” Kruse said. “She also stepped up her leadership this week after our tough losses and helped us get back on the right track.”
Ashley Gubanyar also scored in double figures with 12 points. She dished out five assists and recorded three steals.
“She had a masterful game from the point guard slot,” Kruse said. “She does so much for us out there on both ends of the floor that don’t always show up in the stat sheet. Tonight she guarded their top player and did a great job protecting the ball and was a leader on the floor and in the locker room. It’s hard to overstate how much she does for us day in and day out.”
Haley Domen contributed with seven points, Adriana Naples finished with three and Lindsay Hissa, Annamarie Pollack and Briana Doolittle each pitched in with two points.
“Sydney Hahner gave us a great game tonight off the bench and we had a fun moment when Lindsay Hissa came in off the bench and got her first varsity bucket just a few seconds after entering the game. She is now shooting 100-percent for her varsity career,” Kruse said. “It was also great to get Abby Geesling back after battling an illness for the last few weeks.”
Cardinal improved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in league play. The Huskies host Bristol on Dec. 10. Wickliffe dropped to 0-3. The Blue Devils host Richmond Heights on Monday.
“We have a little pause here before a big three-game week for us next week starting with a scrappy Bristol team on Monday,” Kruse said. “We need to keep focused in practice and understand how important it is to keep getting better each day.”