MCMECHEN - Coming off back-to-back losses against quality opponents during a weekend tournament in the Pittsburgh area, the Linsly girls' basketball team entered Monday night's game against winless Bishop Donahue looking to get back on track.
With freshman guard Morgan Brunner swishing seven 3-pointers and finishing with 24 points to lead three double-digit scorers, the Cadets got what they wanted in a 61-27 victory at the Father Raymond Jablinske Memorial Gymnasium.
Krista Emch followed Brunner's big scoring effort with 14 points while speedy backcourter J.J. Jackson hit for nine of her 12 points in the opening quarter as Linsly jumped out to a commanding 27-8 lead.
The runaway decision moved Linsly's record back within one of the .500 mark at 3-4 while the cold-shooting Bishops dropped their third straight decision.
''We put in our dues over the weekend against a couple of great teams from Upper St. Clair and Kentucky," noted Linsly coach Eric Hall. ''In both games we hung with them for a half and that showed me we can be a really good team when we put everything together.
''Our press worked really well in the first quarter to get us the big lead and we also got quality minutes from our bench. It was a total team effort and I'm very proud of all our girls."
Short-handed because an injury that is expected to sideline junior point guard Kelsey Schau for several weeks, Bishop Donahue was unable to cope with the defensive pressure applied by visitors. Linsly forced the Bishops into 14 first-half turnovers and even when they managed to get the ball into the front court, they didn't find many open shots.
The Cadet girls rolled out to a 16-2 lead less than four minutes into the game, the early surge featuring two 3-pointers from Emch and one by Brunner. Along with Jackson's nine points, Brunner and Emch had eight each in the quarter.
Donahue's struggles moving the ball up the floor and making shots again frustrated coach Don Gillis
''I said in the preview (that) in order for us to be successful this year we have to care of the basketball and shoot a better percentage," he reminded.
''Last Saturday night against Conotton Valley we shot just 15 percent from the floor with 24 turnovers. It wasn't any better (Monday night)."
The Bishops were 10 or 36 overall from the floor, including 0-for-7 in the second quarter and 1 of 10 attempts in the third.
With Schau out, the Donahue offense took another hit because of Gillis having to shift his top returning scorer, Selena Ghaphery, from wing guard to running the offense at the point.
''Selena is more of a two or three-guard where she can get her shot off easier, but right now Selena is pretty much all I have to try and run the offense," Gillis explained.
Ghaphery, a 13-point average scorer during her junior year, went 0-for-4 from the floor against Linsly. Kat Polinski led the Bishops scoring with 11 points. The sophomore forward is back in the lineup this year after having sat out most of the 2011-2012 season with a torn ACL.
Brunner's scoring night included a 13-point second half during which she connected out four straight 3-pointers as the the Cadets built a 30-point lead at 46-16 entering the fourth quarter.
Hall also was pleased the results of making a change at point guard, where Emch took over the key ball-handling position.
''Krista had control of the offense and did a really good job of scoring some points and also leading us in rebounding," Hall said.
Emch paced an even effort underneath the glass for the Cadets by pulling down six missed shots.