Marywood Women’s Basketball January recap


Photo credit/ Jason Ardan

Freshman Forward Maddie Neiderer (30) shoots the corner three.

Jan. 4- Home vs. Centenary University

The Pacers began the 2023 portion of their season with their first Atlantic East Conference matchup, hosting the Centenary University Cyclones. The teams split the season series last year. In the first quarter, the Cyclones and Pacers traded baskets, with the Cyclones edging out the lead by four at the end of the first. It seemed to be one of those tooth and nail games early on. The Pacers had other plans. Marywood’s defense locked up in the second quarter, limiting Centenary to only seven points. Sophomore guard Olivia Ciullo single-handedly outscored the Cyclones in the quarter, scoring eight points. The Pacers scored a total of 22 points in the quarter, taking a 37-26 lead into the break. Ciullo led the Pacers in scoring at the break, totaling 16 points.

Senior guard Savannah Purdy came out hot in the third quarter, scoring 11 of the Pacers 18 points in the quarter, creating a little more separation by the end of the period. In the fourth, the Cyclones whittled the lead down to four, before the Pacers’ offense took over, reclaiming a double-digit lead, and finishing their first win of 2023. The 74-62 victory extended their win streak to three. Ciullo set her season high with a 27-point performance, which she paired with 14 rebounds.

Jan. 7- Away vs. Neumann University

The team looked to continue its win streak, hitting the road against the Neumann Knights. The Pacers started off with a trifecta of threes early, one each from Purdy, sophomore guard Rachel McDonald and senior guard Jade Rolon. The Knights were able to keep pace with the Pacers, only trailing by one at the end of the first quarter. It was with about six minutes remaining in the second quarter when Neumann took the lead. The Knights had a 39-33 lead going into the halftime break. McDonald led the Pacers at the break, totaling eight points.

McDonald and Purdy opened the second-half scoring for the Pacers, with McDonald draining two threes, and Purdy hitting one. Following the last three from the Pacer duo, the Knights went on a 10-0 run, stretching their lead to 13. The Pacers then shortened the gap, narrowing the lead to seven by the end of the third quarter. The Knights then extended the lead to double digits for a few minutes, before Marywood went on a 9-0 run, bringing the game within two. Though the Pacers had numerous chances in the last three and a half minutes, they were never able to overtake the Knights, losing their first game of 2023 and conference play, 77-68. Ciullo and McDonald each scored 20 points in the effort, with McDonald setting career highs in points, threes made (6), and steals (3).

Jan. 11- Away vs. Gwynedd Mercy University

Trying to regain momentum, the Pacers were back on the road, this time facing the Griffins. Ciullo was absent from the game and it clearly hindered the Pacers’ offense. Sophomore forward Stephanie Klemick hit a pair of shots in the first quarter and that was it from the Pacers’ offense in the period, falling behind 19-4 on 11.8% shooting. Though the Pacers offense recovered, the Griffins still led by double digits for the majority of the quarter. Freshman forward Maddie Neiderer led the Pacers in scoring for the half with nine points. The Pacers made it a few-possession game for most of the third, before the Griffins re-extended the lead to end the quarter. The Griffins came out in the fourth and hit too many shots for the Pacers to overcome, putting the nail in the coffin for the Pacers’ second straight loss, 74-56. Purdy led the way for the Pacers, contributing 16 points.

Jan. 14- Home vs. Cabrini University

With Ciullo returning, the Pacers looked to get past their offensive woes, now hosting the Cabrini Cavaliers. A three from McDonald early in the quarter seemed to provide some momentum for the offense. However, the Pacers offense was silent for over four minutes until Ciullo ended the scoreless streak with a jump shot. Despite the struggling offense, the Pacers were only trailing by 13 with three quarters remaining. A jump shot by Neiderer a few minutes into the quarter might have sparked the Pacers’ offense, but it went silent again for over seven minutes. A Neiderer three broke the silence. The Cavaliers capitalized on the silence, extending their lead to 22, before taking a 33-14 lead into the break. Neiderer’s five points in the second quarter led the Pacers going into the break.

The Pacers offense finally showed some life in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavaliers 16-13. The Cavaliers took over the fourth quarter, scoring 25 and handing Marywood its third straight loss, 71-45. Ciullo was the only bright spot on the stifled Pacers’ offense, contributing 21 points, mainly in the second half.

Jan. 21- Away vs. Marymount University

With the Pacers on a downward spiral, they needed a bounce back game. Looking to do so, they traveled to Marymount University to face the Saints, who were 14-3 coming into the matchup. The Pacers scored 10 points in the first quarter, which they had failed to do in each of the previous two games. However, Marymount came out hotter, scoring 21 points in the opening frame, taking an 11-point lead at the end of the quarter. Purdy hit a layup, followed by a McDonald three within the first few minutes of the second quarter. The Pacers again went on a four-minute run of offensive silence. However, the defense did stand strong, limiting the Saints to only six points, before a free throw got the Pacers back on the scoreboard. Ciullo then hit a jumper, followed by a Neiderer three, to send the Pacers into the halftime break trailing 40-21.

The Pacers opened the second half with another four minutes of offensive silence before Ciullo broke it again with a free throw. Ciullo scored the next seven points for Marywood, before McDonald and Purdy joined in. The Pacers brought the score within 14 going into the fourth quarter. Though the Pacers’ avoided offensive silence in the final quarter, the damage had been done, with the Pacers win drought continuing, 59-46. Ciullo still recorded a double-double, mustering 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Jan 28.- Away vs. Centenary University

Still looking to claim their second victory in January, the Pacers were pitted against the only team they defeated during the month, the Centenary Cyclones. The Pacers came out hot, outscoring the Cyclones 17-4 in the first six minutes. Then, the Pacers offense went on yet another four minute offensive silence, which was broken by a buzzer-beating three by McDonald, giving the team a 20-13 lead at the end of the first. McDonald drained a pair of free throws and Purdy hit a couple of jumpers within the first three-plus minutes of the second quarter. Marywood fell into a three minute offensive funk, broken by a Purdy three. The Pacers managed a couple more buckets in the quarter, while also holding the Cyclones to only seven points, taking a 33-20 lead into the half. Purdy led the way in scoring with nine points.

To start the third, both teams’ offenses appeared to have stayed in the locker room, as neither team could muster a make. Ciullo broke the silence, going for six points in the next minute, before McDonald drained a three shortly thereafter. The Pacers’ defense held the Cyclones to zero points over six and a half minutes into the third, which was promptly followed by ten points by the Cyclones. Although the Cyclones outscored the Pacers 18-10 in the final quarter, bringing the lead within single digits, the Pacers held on for the sweep, 56-48. Despite the poor shooting night, Purdy led the way for the Pacers with 13 points, while also setting a career high in steals with five. Rolon quietly had a double-double, contributing 10 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.

Jan. 30- Home vs. Immaculata University

This game was originally scheduled for Jan. 25, but was postponed due to snow in the Scranton area. In the rescheduled affair, the Pacers were looking to build off their victory, now hosting the Immaculata Mighty Macs. Neither offense wowed in the first quarter, with the Pacers going into the end of the quarter only trailing by one, thanks to a Neiderer jumper to beat the buzzer. Neiderer then opened the scoring for the second quarter with a three, before the Mighty Macs’ offense took over the period, outscoring the Pacers 20-11. Ciullo hit a layup to bring the game within 10, trailing 31-21 at the halftime break. Ciullo led the Marywood scoring with eight points.

Ciullo headlined the scoring for the Pacers in the third quarter, scoring 10 of the Pacers’ 15 points in the quarter, allowing the team to go into the final quarter trailing by only nine. The Mighty Macs and Pacers went tit for tat in the final quarter, leading to another Pacers loss, 61-52. Ciullo put together her third double-double of the month, going for 24 points and 14 rebounds. Despite her poor shooting night, Klemick set her career high in steals with four.

The Pacers ended the month 2-5, all conference games. Despite the team’s struggles, Ciullo had a tremendous month, averaging 20 points per game, despite missing a contest. She also finished atop the Pacers’ rebounder list, averaging 9.8 over six games, largely in part to her three double-doubles. Rolon led the Pacers for the month in assists, averaging 3.4 per game.

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