By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, OH---Emma-Jean Ricketts scored a team-high 18 points as the Express women's basketball team defeated Sinclair Community College 81-61 in the SHAC today.
The Tartan Pride was pressured by the Express defense most of the game and finished with 29 turnovers, which the Express converted into a 41-5 advantage in points off turnovers.
Three players (Eboni Adams, Breonna House and Mackenzie Heacock) swiped a team-high five steals apiece, while two more (Danielle Bezeau and Karahn Scott) had three apiece. Overall, the Express had 23 steals.
Adams had, perhaps, her best game of the season overall as the freshman guard finished with nine points, a season-high 11 assists and two blocks to go along with her five steals.
Another freshman, Jordyn Bond, was second on the team in scoring with 13 points, while she added five rebounds, one assist and one block.
Lianna Innocent, Sinclair's 6'2" freshman center, was vital to Sinclair's success and eventual downfall. She finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and one block, and her team struggled offensively without her.
In the first half, the Tartan Pride held a 23-20 lead with 7:37 remaining. However, Innocent picked up her third foul and had to go to the bench. That's when the Express made a run and finished the half on a 29-11 run to take a 49-34 lead into the break.
Scott also finished with 13 points, while adding a team-high seven rebounds (four offensive), one assist and one block. Nine of her points came early in the game before she had to sit most of the half due to foul trouble.
In the second half, Innocent helped pull her team within 51-41 with 17:12 remaining, but Ricketts made a lay-in and a free throw and Scott added a lay-up to give the Express a 56-41 lead. Down the stretch, the Express stretched the lead to as many as 22 in the half.
Heacock added 12 points, three rebounds and two assists, while House finished with 10 points, a team-high seven assists, five steals and four rebounds.
As a team, the Express shot 37-for-82 from the field (45.1 percent), while Sinclair finished 22-for-61 (36.1 percent). Neither team shot well from 3-point range, while Sinclair shot 13-for-20 (65 percent) from the foul line compared to just 3-for-11 (27.3 percent) for the Express.
Ashtyn Payne added 13 points and 13 rebounds for Sinclair, although she committed 10 turnovers, while Ashley Morrow had 11 points. She, too, however committed 10 turnovers.
The game marked the beginning of Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) play. Both games of today's doubleheader were broadcasted live on BCSN.
Ricketts now has 688 career points. She is one point away from tying Sarah Clark (2008-10) for 18th on the career scoring list.
The Express (13-5, 1-0 OCCAC) will travel to Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, OH on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. matchup. Sinclair falls to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the OCCAC.