January 17, 2015

Wolverines set steals record in win over Thiel

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Junior forward Kathryn Erbelding (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Olympia) poured in a game-high 22 points and the Grove City College women's basketball team set a program record with 22 steals and forced 37 Thiel turnovers in a 67-55 victory over the Tomcats in Presidents' Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon in the Grove City College Arena.

Erbelding filled the stat sheet, adding team-bests of nine rebounds, eight steals, and five assists to her 22 points while senior forward Cayley McClean (Airville, Pa./Kennard-Dale) posted 14 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Kelsey Shirey (Macedonia, Ohio/Nordonia) and sophomore guard Jackie Stewart (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley) each chipped in eight points.

In a first half of runs, the Wolverines (7-8, 5-3 PAC) forced turnovers on each of the Tomcats' first five possessions to jump out to an early 7-0 lead behind four points from Erbelding and three from freshman guard Lexie Arkwright (Mercer, Pa./Mercer). Thiel (3-11, 2-6) responded with five straight points, but McClean would counter with five straight points and find Stewart for a jumper to push Grove City's lead to nine at 14-5 with 13:53 to play.

The Tomcats would close the gap back to two behind seven-straight points from Jaclyn Watkins, but the Wolverines would answer back with a Shirey three that sparked a 10-2 run to give Grove City a 24-14 advantage with 9:06 remaining.

Watkins would score four more points as part of a 7-0 Thiel run that cut the Grove City lead back to three but a pair of steals allowed the Wolverines to extend their lead back to nine at 30-21. From there, Thiel would hold the Wolverines without a field goal for more than five minutes and chipped away to make it a 32-29 game with 1:05 on the clock, but Erbelding would end the drought with a layup on Grove City's next possession and junior forward Natalija Galens (Covert, Mich./Grace Christian) hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to send the Wolverines into halftime with a 36-29 lead.

Erbelding led all scorers with 14 first-half points and McClean added 10 for Grove City while Watkins had 13 to lead Thiel. The Wolverines forced 21 Tomcat turnovers in the first half, leading to 13 additional field goal attempts.

Grove City opened the second half on another 7-0 run to take a 44-29 lead just over two minutes into the period and would lead again by 15 at 49-34 with 14:29 remaining. After five-consecutive Tomcat points cut the lead to 10, the Wolverines would use a 9-3 spurt to take their largest lead of the day at 58-42 with 8:23 left in regulation.

Thiel would make one final push with a 8-1 run and held Grove City for another seven minutes without a field goal, but the Wolverines would make seven free throws over that stretch, which was enough to hold on for the important conference win.

Watkins finished with 20 points and a game-high 10 rebounds to lead Thiel while Brijae Journee added nine points and five assists.

For the game, Grove City shot 37 percent from the floor and 68 percent from the foul line. Thiel made 44 percent of their field-goal attempts, but the 37 Thiel turnovers and 18 Grove City offensive rebounds led to 28 additional shots for the Wolverines.

The previous Grove City College women's basketball record for steals was 21, set on December 3, 1994, in a 68-45 home victory over Lake Erie College.

Grove City returns to action on Wednesday, hosting Bethany in conference action at 5:30 p.m.

Box Score

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