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A lot of teams have trouble scoring 31 points against Hillcrest. For one player to do it, like Mother McAuley’s Alyssa Siwek did on Tuesday, was pretty impressive.
“I wasn’t planning on it,” a smiling Siwek said after a 65-54 victory. “I was playing to get us ahead somehow, and if that’s how it falls, that’s how it falls.”
Siwek finished 9-for-15 from the field, hitting three three-pointers for the No. 8 Mighty Macs (8-2). Lauren Carlson added 23 points and eight rebounds.
No. 4 Hillcrest (7-2) was paced by Dana Gettis (20 points) and Mariam Awoniyi (16 points, 10 rebounds).
Siwek was deadly during the first half, scoring 16 points, seven on running jumpers into the Hawks’ zone defense. Ahead by as much as 23-8 halfway through the second period, the Mighty Macs took a 26-16 lead into intermission.
“Against them you’ve just got to spread the floor and move and attack,” Siwek said. “That’s what we did really well today.”
Their man-to-man defense didn’t particularly seem to stop Hillcrest as much as the Hawks stopped themselves. There were myriad missed layups during a horrendous 3-for-33 first-half shooting.
“We had opportunities, but give credit to the defensive intensity that McAuley brought to the game tonight,” Hillcrest coach John Maniatis said. “We just didn’t put the ball in the basket.”
Both teams’ stars had to deal with foul trouble. Gettis had three in the first quarter and had to sit the entire second period. With only four points at intermission, she came out firing in the third period, scoring 16 points.
Siwek went to the bench with her fourth foul in the first minute of the final period. Hillcrest quickly capitalized and got to within 43-39 with 6:51 left on a pair of free throws by Awoniyi.
Mighty Macs coach Ashley Luke Clanton then sent Siwek back on the floor and she immediately responded with a driving layup. She eventually fouled out but not before finishing with nine fourth-period points.
The final major moment perhaps occurred with 6:15 remaining, when McAuley’s Elizabeth Nye took a charge by Gettis. It was Gettis’ fifth foul.
“Everybody knew it would be her (driving),” Nye said. “I mean, she can score from anywhere. I just stepped up and took it. It was just right there, so I let her hit me. She nailed me pretty hard.”