NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J. - After losing their two prior matchups to Westfield, the Lady Pioneers were able to stun Westfield, 47-43, in a massive conference match-up in New Providence.
The last time these two teams met, New Providence star guard Sydney Morang was held to a season low two points, where the Lady Pioneers were stumped by Westfield 43-34. The girls have not lost since.
However, thanks to her 21 points and an unexpected scoring burst from senior Natalie Barrett, New Providence came out with their sixth straight victory on Saturday.
“We knew what they were going to come out and try to do against us on defense,” said Morang, when asked how she was able to turn it around offensively. “We made sure we worked on our offense in practice and it worked.”
Things didn’t get off to an auspicious start for the home team, as Westfield scored seven quick points after New Providence hit an early free throw.
Despite the deficit, buckets by Katie Kinum and Barrett brought the Lady Pioneers within a pair after the first quarter.
The inability to score plagued both teams in the first four minutes of the 2nd frame, but both teams were able to hit a few shots in the next four minutes in order to tie the game up at 19 at halftime.
Back and forth action continued throughout the third, where neither team was able to pull away.
A buzzer-beating layup off a steal by Morang at the buzzer pulled New Providence within two, 32-30.
Intense defense characterized the 4th quarter until Natalie Barrett hit perhaps the most important shot of the game, when she buried a three to give New Providence a 38-37 advantage, their first lead since early on in the game.
Subsequently, the defense of New Providence harassed the Blue Devils into turning the ball over, and Morang converted a layup while getting fouled to extend the slim Lady Pioneer lead, which was one they would hold onto.
“We were able to get her (Morang) open by setting a lot of screens on the defense,” said New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera. “When she’s touching the ball, we are going to have a lot of success.
Westfield was forced to foul the Lady Pioneers in the last minute of play in order to get back in the game, but Katie Kinum, Barrett, and Casey Trezza knocked down their free throws to ice the game.
“We were able to move the ball much better than the other times against them by setting screens,” said Morang. “That led to me and other players getting open like Natalie on the three.”
New Providence (12-4) looks for their seventh straight win when they take on Oak Knoll for the first time this season on Monday in New Providence.
Lillian Scott led Westfield with 22 points. The Blue Devils will play Rahway at home on Tuesday.