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ND girls post 70-61 victory
Bulldogs defeat rival Central at the Show Me Center.
In a battle between two of the better girls post players in the area, Central's Wendi Zickfield outscored Notre Dame's Jane Morrill.
But it was Morrill's Bulldogs who came out on top, earning the 70-61 victory at the Show Me Center on Monday night.
Zickfield scored a game-high 28 points, while Morrill finished with a team-high 18.
Morrill was able to find the basket with regularity, but she also made her presence felt with her passing. When the Central defense collapsed on her, she managed to slip passes to teammate Paige Schumer for easy layups.
"She's a great teammate," Schumer said of Morrill. "It's great for me when she dishes it off for me. Usually I get a pretty easy layin, but it's because of her work. I definitely credit her for some of that."
Schumer led the Bulldogs with 11 rebounds, while Morrill added nine rebounds and a team-high seven blocks.
Notre Dame opened a 12-point lead in the first half, but it couldn't pull away, mostly because of Zickfield. Central's junior post player went 8-of-11 in the first half for 18 points. The rest of the Central team went 3-of-13 (23 percent) from the field.
"I guess I just had a positive mindset," Zickfield said of the first half. "I just kept going."
Zickfield said she tried to get Morrill into early foul trouble, but soon realized she wasn't having much success.
"I tried to take it into her instead of away because taking it away, I won't draw a foul," said the 6-foot-2 Zickfield. "I tried to foul her out of the game. But then she didn't really foul me, so I just did the best I could."
Morrill's strategy was to try and keep Zickfield behind her and deny the entry pass. But Notre Dame's 5-10 sophomore admitted that wasn't easy.
"I was trying to front her mainly, try to keep the ball away from her," Morrill said. "But I ended up a lot of times behind her. So then I just tried to play good defense mainly. She's pretty smart and she's a big player. I don't go up against many players as tall as she is. She can move well, so it's pretty tough."
Notre Dame coach Renee Peters said she switched her team's defense at halftime to try and combat Zickfield's effectiveness, and to limit the chances for Central point guard Sadie Pittman, who scored seven points. Zickfield scored 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting in the second half.
"We went to a 1-3-1 in the second half," Peters said. "Sadie Pittman was hurting us the first half. She was coming off that high screen and hitting that little shot. If she wasn't, she was dumping the ball to Zickfield. We thought, let's take that away. Then we pushed it to a zone because their outside game wasn't as effective as their inside."
Notre Dame pushed its lead to 13 early in the third quarter, but the Tigers refused to quit. Central went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to six, before Emily Brumitt hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to nine. The Bulldogs got the lead back to 13 in the closing seconds of the third quarter.
Central used another 7-0 run in the fourth quarter to get within six, but Notre Dame didn't wilt. Part of the Bulldogs' success was their free-throw shooting. Notre Dame hit its first 14 free throws in the game and finished 15-of-19 (79 percent) in the game.
"They showed some composure coming down the stretch and they hit their free throws," Peters said. "I'm very happy with that. It's something we've worked on, pressure free throws in practice."
Notre Dame (70) -- Allyson Bradshaw 7, Emily Brumitt 11, Meghan Dohogne 2, Alex Fowler 14, Jane Morrill 18, Erika Reinagel 4, Paige Schumer 14. FG 19, FT 15-19, 15 (3-pointers: Bradshaw 1, Fowler 3, Brumitt 3. Fouled out: None)
Central (61) -- Sadie Pittman 7, Tierra Walker 4, Chelsea Pannier 1, Breia Twiggs 3, Taylor Kirn 9, Sarah Uptmor 9, Wendi Zickfield 28. FG 23, FT 16-22, F 15 (3-pointers: Uptmor. Fouled out: None)