BURCHETTE AGAIN: Norse Women Crush Delta
Click the thumbnails to see photos and videos, and to hear post-game comments from Burchette, Coach Todd Ciochetto, and player spotligjt with Emma Rutter.
ESCANABA---Ashlee Burchette scored 31 points, 25 of them in the first half, to lead the Bay College Norse women's basketball team to its ninth straight victory on Saturday, 89-60, in Escanaba.
Bay rolled to a 37-10 lead after the first quarter and took the foot off the gas the rest of the way, with the team playing its fourth game in the last eight days. The Norse stayed tied for first place in the MCCAA conference standings with the win, keeping pace with the nationally-ranked Mid Michigan Lakers, who visit Escanaba next Saturday.
For Burchette, it was the fourth time she's crossed the 30-point mark in scoring, and the second time this week. She has had at least 25 points in a game seven times this season, and has scored at least 20 points in ten games this season.
Burchette has had double digit point totals in all 20 of the Norse games this season, and is averaging just under 21 points per game all told.
“It's fun,” Burchette said. “I'm glad that everybody's passing, everybody's scoring, everybody's working as a team.”
“She's one of the best guards in the country right now,” Norse Coach Todd Ciochetto said. “She's playing with a lot of confidence, and she's making all of us better.”
Kennedy Sproule bounced back from an early slow start to nail seven three-point baskets and she scored a career-high 23 points.
“She was awful at the beginning of the game, and I had to take her out again,” Ciochetto said. “I need her. Against Mid Michigan, I can't not start Kennedy. She needs to be there. She gives up too many things and she tries to ease her way into the game. I need her full-throttle. We'll have to figure that out. But after that, she was great.”
Siena Lingle had one of her best all-around games on Saturday. The Marquette Senior High School graduate scored 16 points, had seven assists, and on defense, she had seven steals and five rebounds.
“She's just a good basketball player now,” Ciochetto said. “She's not turning the ball over. She's putting the ball where she's supposed to. She's seeing the right things on the court, she's finding the right shooters. You can't say enough good things about her. And, for the first time, she got a little bit tired in a game, and she still did a great job. We asked her to guard their point guard full-court, and she did.”
Lingle, in 31 minutes of play, committed only one turnover.
“That's just crazy,” Ciochetto said. “She's just playing great basketball. She's a totally different basketball player than she was two months ago.”
It wasn't all great for the Norse. The Pioneers, with several girls injured and a brand new head coach who took over after recruiting season was done, didn't give up after falling behind 37-10. They competed with the Norse in the final 30 minutes, being outscored just 52-50, in those final three quarters.
“I wasn't happy with the defense of our second group,” Ciochetto said. “You've got to guard, or you're not gonna play. It we play our group that was guarding (the whole game), they score maybe 40 points, tops, and that's what we're looking for defensively.”
Delta (2-9 overall, 1-3 MCCAA) got a huge game from Hailee Jefferson, who had 19 points and grabbed 19 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes.
The Norse, though, continued their remarkable turnaround by winning their ninth straight game, and staying undefeated in MCCAA play (5-0). They're 13-7 overall, after going 9-20 last season. And a huge battle is looming next Saturday in Escanaba, when the nationally-ranked Mid Michigan Lakers (18-0 overall, 5-0 MCCAA) come to town.
It will be one of the biggest women's basketball games on the Escanaba home court in the history of the program. Ciochetto says his team will be ready.
“Obviously, they're really really good right now, 13th in the country,” Ciochetto said. “We think our program is there, right now. It wasn't even close a month ago. And they might get us, they might not. But we're going to play hard. We play hard now and that's what I can be happy about.”
Before next Saturday's showdown, though, the Norse travel to Grayling Wednesday night to face the Kirtland College Firebirds (2-8 overall, 1-3 MCCAA). Mid Michigan will play at Muskegon Community College Wednesday before coming to Escanaba.
The Bay-Kirtland game starts at 5:30 Wednesday evening and will be broadcast live on Maverick FM-106.3 and on-line at www.baynorse.com.