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The Comeback Kids
Freemen outscore Rebels 18-4 in 3rd quarter to lead them to unlikely comeback
The Lady Freemen entered Saturday afternoon’s match-up against the Red River Rebels still searching for their first MCAC victory of the season. After falling behind early and appearing to be out of contention Providence came out of the half-time break on fire and capped a remarkable 14-point point comeback with a 46-42 victory.
Both teams came out prepared to play which led to tough back-and-forth ball throughout the first half. As both sides matched one another’s tempo early on, the speed and intensity of the game led to a plethora of scoring opportunities on both ends of the court. However, the Rebels were able to pull away, as the Lady Freemen struggled to find their finishing touch, while Red River continued to hit theirs. Led by a first-half 8-point performance by sophomore Ashley Tolentino, the Rebels took a 27-13 lead into the break, and left Providence fans fearing the sight of another home-court loss.
But the second half was when the action, and the Lady Freemen, really started to heat up.
Providence came out of the break firing on all cylinders, and, behind calmed and smart play from freshman Melanie Warkentine (15 pts, 7 rbs), the Lady Freemen began the half on a 7-0 run. The play re-energized the packed stands, and pushed the Lady Freemen onto their best team effort of the season. Providence also tightened up on the defensive end as they began to dominate the boards and force uncharacteristic Rebels turnovers. By the end of the quarter the Lady Freemen had allowed a season-low 4 points in the quarter, outscored their opponents by 14, and completed an unbelievable one-quarter comeback to stand deadlocked with the Rebels at 31.
The final quarter saw both squads match one another play after play as the sides traded baskets, steals and everything but their jerseys en route to the most exciting finish to a Lady Freemen game in recent years memory. Rebels freshman guard Karie Magpantay re-organized her squad’s offensive play, and began pulling in extra Lady Freemen defensive attention to create spaces for her teammates to find their shots. Providence countered with a monstrous effort on the boards from sophomore Amanda Franz (14 rbs). The two sides then continued their back-and-forth play until Warkentine hit a deep 3-pointer in traffic to pull the Lady Freemen ahead for good as they capped the comeback to win 46-42.
The second half, third quarter in particular, saw the Lady Freemen side give an unprecedented performance that left Providence fans wondering what Freemen head coach Patti Parker told her squad at the break.
“At half-time we committed to lifting up our intensity level,” coach Parker said. “The girls knew I was doing quicker subbing in the second half, so they had to pour on the pressure for the time they were on.”
“We maintained pressure and good ball movement throughout both halves, but in the second the girls picked up the intensity in both ends and the shots started to fall.”
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