TOLEDO - Emma-Jean Ricketts poured in 21 points as the Express women's basketball team made some key halftime adjustments in an 82-65 win over No. 20 Cincinnati State in the SHAC today.
Down 36-30 at halftime, the Express turned up the defensive intensity, attacked the basket and outscored the Surge 52-29 in the second half.
In that half alone, Uniqua Mitchell and Karahn Scott had 12 points apiece, while Ricketts had 10 of her 21. Nandi Taylor added nine points and five assists, as well, in the half.
As a team, the Express shot 20-for-30 (66.7 percent) overall in the second half, 3-for-8 from 3-point range and 9-for-16 from the foul line. In the first half, the Express shot only 11-for-33 (33.3 percent) overall and 1-for-9 from 3-point range.
For the most part, the Surge controlled the first half. The led 4-0 early before Ricketts hit a 3-pointer and a lay-up to give the Express a 5-4 lead. Later, with 10:59 left in the half, Mackenzie Heacock hit a jumper to give the Express a four point lead.
That's when the Surge went on an 8-0 run to take a 19-15 lead with 9:09 left. The Express answered back with another 5-0 run to take their final lead of the half at 20-19 with 7:27 left.
Kindsay Brandt then delivered lay-ups at the beginning and end of a 10-2 run that gave the Surge a 29-22 lead with 4:22 left. Later, with 1:04 left, the Surge would take a 36-28 lead - their largest of the game.
Each team would trade blows offensively in the second half before the Express tied the game up at 52-all with 11:10 left on a lay-up from Taylor.
Scott, Mitchell and Taylor then hit three straight lay-ups to give the Express the lead for good at 58-52 with 9:57 left. The Surge cut the deficit to two with 8:33 left, but the Express went on a 10-2 run to take a 68-58 lead with 5:35 left.
The Express closed the game on a 7-0 run to capture the 82-65 win.
Along with her 21 points, Ricketts added team-highs in rebounds (9) and steals (4). Mitchell added 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Scott had 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Taylor added 12 points and a team-high five assists in the game, while Mackenzie Heacock chipped in nine points (five in the second half).
Defensively, the Express held the nation's top overall rebounder and top offensive rebounder, Cameron Vaughn, to a season-low six rebounds. Five of those came late in the game. She is the reigning NJCAA D-II Player of the Week after pulling down 33 rebounds in two games last week.
Desiree Ash led the Surge offensively with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Hannah Stephenson had 11 points. Stephenson scored the first seven points of the game for the Surge.
Nobody else scored in double figures for the Surge - Vaughn was the closest with nine points. Moreover, Vaughn's six rebounds tied her for the team-high.