NEW BRITAIN - After making solid halftime adjustments and bringing the game within two points during the second half, the Bristol Warriors could not find a way to stop Connecticut Pressure’s (Enfield) Taylor Verboven resulting in a 51-47 loss on Thursday.
Verboven’s ball handling to go along with her ability to shoot the three or put her head down and drive to the basket was on full display as she was dominant in her performance. She had 22 points.
“She brought the intensity and did a really nice job,” Pressure coach Ashley Genovese said. “They all played well together and showed great team defense.”
For Bristol, Hannah Maghini led the way with 11 points. She received strong games from teammates Julia Gettings and Jordan Ouellette. Gettings finished with nine points and Ouellette was in double digits with 10 points.
In the first half, the Pressure started off the game with a 12-1 lead. Courtney Doherty set the tempo early on for the Pressure, scoring five of the team’s first seven points.
The Pressure’s ability to knock down three-point shots during the game was an advantage for them and open three-point opportunities were a problem defensively for Bristol throughout the night.
After being down 32-23 at the half, Warriors coach Darrell Darby made strong halftime adjustments. Bristol started the second half on a 9-2 run before Verboven knocked down consecutive triples, extending the Pressure lead back to eight points.
Bristol was once again at a height disadvantage in the contest with Pressure’s center Emily Collins towering over the Warriors group. Collins finished the game with ten points. Verboven’s fellow guard and high school teammate Doherty added nine points and had a strong first half performance.
“They were good players and did what good players are supposed to do,” Darby said. “I told the girls, you gotta play tight pressure defense and get your hand up and respect them and don’t play timid.”
With the score at 45-43 with fewer than three minutes to play, Darby called for a timeout with the ball being swarmed by Pressure players. The timeout was granted at first but then following yelling from the Pressure crowd was overturned in a crucial moment in the game.
Verboven used her strong dribbling to wind the clock down for the Pressure.
But the Warriors had chances to tie the game with time not on its side. Down 47-43 with 36 seconds remaining in the game, Ouellette was fouled on the three-point line. She hit one of the three foul shot opportunities.
Following up Ouellette’s foul shots, Doherty was fouled by Bristol as the team’s hopes were in the hands of the Pressure’s free throw shooters. Doherty missed the first shot but was granted a second opportunity due to a lane violation.
Doherty took advantage of her second chance, knocking down one of the two to extend her team’s lead to four points. On the second shot miss, Collins grabbed the offensive board and put up a layup to extend the lead to six points.
Maghini knocked down a three in the Warriors next possession and Bristol was down three with under 15 seconds to go. With it back to a three-point game, Verboven was sent to the line and knocked down one of the two shots to put the game away for the Pressure and hand Bristol the loss.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan