Ritz, Woods Spark Cardinals
WHEELING — “If (Shanley Woods) drove through Wheeling she would never get a stop light,” Wheeling University women’s coach Mike Llanas said of his freshman guard. “It’s the same thing here in the Bird Cage.”
Despite going 0-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line in the first half, Woods found other ways to get the ball in the basket on her way to a 17-point college debut to help lift Wheeling University to a 76-63 triumph over Alderson Broaddus inside the Alma McDonough Center on Thursday night.
The Wheeling Park graduate also chipped in with three rebounds, three assists and a steal in her first collegiate start and was third on the team in minutes played.
“I’m very excited that we got our first win (Thursday),” Woods said. “We’ve been waiting and preparing for this day for so long. I thought we played well as a team.
“I didn’t shoot the ball well but I felt pretty good about how I played otherwise. I feel like I’m in good shape and much stronger than I was in high school. I’m looking forward to this season more than ever.”
Last year’s NCAA Division II rebound champion Lilly Ritz picked up where she left off with a double-double of 23 points and 15 rebounds, despite getting off to a slow start.
“It’s nice to have another person who has to be respected in the paint,” Llanas said. “How about a 10-point lead with Lilly only having two points and Shanley — one of the best 3-point shooters in the valley — going 0-for-5 in the first half. I thought if we can really get those two going we could stretch that lead out and then it happened.
“We needed that outside threat. It’s nice to have Lilly to build around and we’re starting to get those pieces.”
Wheeling went on a 9-0 run early to jump out to a 13-4 cushion, followed by a 10-0 spurt that turned a 13-12 edge into a 23-12 advantage in the second quarter — a lead the Cardinals never relinquished.
Ritz had 10 first-half points, followed by Macyn Siegenthaler with nine and Woods and Tori Harrison with seven.
Ritz garnered 13 points in the second half, while Woods turned in 10 points in the final 20 minutes.
The Cardinals also held the advantage in fouls as the Battlers suffered from 28 personal fouls and the Cards only committed nine.
Wheeling went 18-for-26 from the charity stripe, while Alderson Broaddus finished just 4-for-6.
“That really helped I think,” Llanas said of the foul differential. “I think we were really prepared with offensive sets and our kids did a good job of defending in the first half. It was great to get to the free-throw line. We talked about foul management and how this game is about foul management. It was very important to play hard and play smart.”
Along with Ritz and Woods, Wheeling received great contributions from Harrison and Siegenthaler, who each poured in 11 points.
Buckeye Local alum Emily Holzopfel tallied seven points and a team-high three steals, while Magnolia grad Kelsi Chapman provided senior leadership and five points in the victory.
“This was a great team win,” Llanas said. “It’s going to be about diversifying our lineup. We’ll have several players back and we’ll be ready for Notre Dame.
“Depth is a big thing. We have it — unfortunately they weren’t available (Thursday) but that will help in times when we are having max pressure.”