MORRISTOWN, N.J. – Freshman guard Ashley Pledger scored 18 points and classmate Amerisse Rodgers added 11 points and eight rebounds as the Screaming Eagles picked up their third consecutive victory by topping SUNY Cobleskill 64-54 on Sunday afternoon in North Eastern Athletic Conference basketball action.
Forward Heidi Anderson led the Fighting Tigers (1-8, 0-4 NEAC) with a game-high 22 points.
The Screaming Eagles, playing in their fifth straight home game across the two semesters, improved to 3-1 in the NEAC and evened the overall record at 5-5.
Pledger got CSE on the board at the onset, scoring a layup off a shuffle cut at 18:24.
Anderson put the visitors up 10-6 with a lay-up five minutes later but CSE got the offensive clicking with an 8-2 run. Rodgers grabbed an offensive rebounds at the 10-minute mark and hit Pledger for an open jumper to give CSE the 14-12 lead. Next time down the floor, it was Pledger who found junior swing Cheyenne Grant for a jumper and the lead bumped up to 16-12.
Rodgers grabbed a SUNY Cobleskill miss and converted in transition for a six-point CSE lead but the Tigers rattled eight unanswered points, taking a 20-18 lead when Anderson stole the ball and finished on the break at 4:43.
The Screaming Eagles found a hot hand late in the half. Grant nailed a triple at 2:38 and Sharolin Sanders followed with her own 3-pointer from the corner two minutes later.
CSE took a 32-24 lead into halftime. Pledger led all scorers with nine points while Anderson led SUNY Cobleskill with eight points and three steals.
The Screaming Eagles pushed out to a 10-point lead when Chantele Clark hit one of two from the free throw stripe at 15:34.
Late in the game, Madellyn Rodriguez got went to the ground and came up with a loose ball. She made the outlet pass from her knees to Pledger who streaked up the floor for a layup at 5:28 and a 10-point CSE lead. On the next play, Pledger picked off a SUNY Cobleskill pass and swooped in for another layup to put CSE up by 12 points.
SUNY Cobleskill cut into the lead with an old-fashioned three-point play. Forward Kady Poerterfield found teammate Sarah Efthimiou cutting on the baseline. Efthimiou made the layup and converted the ensuing free throw to make the score 59-50 CSE with under three minutes left.
Rodgers knifed through the defense on the next Screaming Eagles possession and after one hard dribble down the right side of the lane, softly settled a lay-up off the glass to put CSE up 2:28.
With Cobleskill scrambling to get another CSE turnover, Sanders scooped up an offensive rebound with 31 seconds left and her put-back basket gave CSE a comfortable 11-point cushion.
Senior Kelly O’Dell again filled out the stat sheet for CSE, grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds to go along with five steals and four assists.
Saint Elizabeth maintained a 54-47 edge on the backboards and used 40.6 percent shooting in the second half to keep the Fighting Tigers at bay.
Saint Elizabeth is back at home on Wednesday for its sixth home game in a row, welcoming NEAC foe Penn State Berks to St. Joseph’s Hall for at 7 p.m. contest. The Department of Athletics and Screaming Eagles basketball team will honor the legacy of legendary Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt by wearing orange “We Back Pat” T-shirts during warm-ups.