By PAUL GOTHAM
CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — It took a quarter for the full-court press to take effect. Once in place the Monroe Community College women’s basketball team started running downhill, and there was no stopping the momentum.
Lanay Rodney led five in double figures. Abby White directed a relentless offense, and Monroe defeated the Finger Lakes Community College Lakers 94-53 in Region 3 action on Putt Moore Court, Tuesday night.
Rodney netted 11 of her game-high 25 points in the second quarter when the Lady Tribunes outscored the Lakers 30-11. After nailing a three from the top of the key, Rodney got ahead of the defense on the next possession, and White found her teammate with one of her game-high 11 assists on the night.
“Her mentality is she is not looking to score,” Rodney said of her White. “She is looking to pass it, to get her assists up. That’s really nice.”
The basket was one of three layups Rodney finished in a quarter which saw the black and gold turn a nine-point advantage into an 18-point cushion.
“It’s nice that I can pass the ball up and I know that my girls will finish it,” White said. “It’s also nice that they catch the ball. That’s part of the game to be able to catch the ball while running up the floor. It’s very nice that we can run and gun.”
Erica Abitante kick started the Tribs’ scoring in the second quarter with a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Monroe’s press created a turnover on the next possession, and Ellease Billings-Harrison converted the ensuing layup.
Sierra Green connected on a jumper the next time down the floor for a 28-16 MCC lead, and the Lakers were never able to get within single digits again.
“We played really good defense,” White commented. “That’s what it’s mainly about. It’s all about defense. It’s all about us coming together and all be on the same page. We have a lot of stuff to work on, but for today it was a good start.”
As a freshman, White averaged more than 20 minutes per game for the 2015-16 Lady Tribunes which finished 31-2 and in fourth place at the NJCAA Division II tournament. The 5’2″ guard handed out 2.8 assists for a team that averaged more 84.6 points per game.
“I didn’t know about today because it was the first game, and we have a lot of freshmen,” White said of the MCC lineup which includes 10 first-year players. “But we’re going to be good this year.”
Torrie Cash drilled two of her three 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Shalix Hines added one of three from long range in the period. The Tribunes hit 12 of 34 (35.3 percent) from downtown for the night.
“We do have some three-point shooters on this team,” White noted. “It’s nice when we started hitting them and give our freshmen some confidence that you can play at this level, and that you can make those shots.”
Monroe pushed the advantage to 40 late in the third when Abitante got on the floor for a loose ball. The freshman guard, while laying on her back, fed White who in turn led Cash into the open floor for a layup.
Cash scored 16 for the game while Green added 15. Kathryn Kanhoye chipped in with 13 points, and Abitante had 10. Taliyah Brisco tallied six points. Hines scored five points and handed out eight assists. The Lady Tribunes dished out 26 dimes while committing just 10 turnovers. Billings corralled a team-high nine rebounds.
Rodney hit 9 of 16 from the floor including one of two attempts from behind the arc. The 5-8 guard converted six of seven free throw attempts. The Peekskill, New York native also collected a game-high seven steals. She scored eight of Monroe’s first 10 points on the evening.
“It’s always good to come out strong with a fresh start,” Rodney commented. “Push the tempo and get the pace going. It feels great to start out with a W.”
Monroe had 22 steals and created 28 turnovers.
Megan Howell and Janae Brannon led FLCC with 16 points apiece. Brannon pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
MCC travels to Onondaga Community College next Thursday for a 5 p.m. tipoff.