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Gannon Wins in Brunelli's Debut (11-13-13)

Lady Knights Avoid Upset against Walsh
11/13/2013 | Women's Basketball

ERIE, Pa. - Senior Jen Papich (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Fox Chapel), junior Brittany Batts (Leesburg, Va. / Loudoun County) and junior Nettie Blake (Jersey City, N.J. / Marist) each finished with 15 points, as the No. 2 Gannon women's basketball team opened the season with an 80-68 win over the Walsh Cavaliers at the Hammermill Center on Wednesday evening. With the win, the Lady Knights have captured a victory in five consecutive home openers. The Lady Knights improve to 1-0 overall, while the Cavaliers drop to 2-1 on the season.

Papich and Blake each recorded a double-double, collecting 10 rebounds to go along with 15 points. Papich led the team with two steals and two blocks. Batts also recorded 15 points, all off three-pointers, while collecting two rebounds. Senior Kelley Sundberg (Mannsfield, Conn. / E.O. Smith) scored nine points with a team-high eight assists. Redshirt junior Doriyon Glass (Boardman, Ohio / Boardman) tallied seven points including three rebounds. As a team, Gannon shot 46.2 percent from the field and 37.0 from a distance, while also controlling the glass by a count of 37-32.

Walsh was led by Kelsey Funderburgh with a team-high 22 points and four rebounds in the loss. Jalynn Graham added 18 to the Cavaliers' total, also sharing a team-high six rebounds. The Cavaliers shot 44.2 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from three-point land.

To open the game, Blake scored six straight to give Gannon an 8-2 lead. Trailing in the game, the Cavaliers went on a 7-0 run to take the lead for the first time 5:29 in. With the score tied at 12-12 following a three by Funderburgh, the Cavaliers captured a 14-12 lead off a pair of free throws by Rachael Trujillo. The Cavaliers pushed their lead to 16-13, their widest lead of the game with 10:48 remaining in the opening half.

Glass forced a Walsh turnover leading to break down the court with her original shot hitting off the rim. An offensive rebound by Papich pushed the ball back out to Glass, who nailed a three for an 18-16 Gannon lead.

Following a three by Batts, the Cavaliers' Audrey Badovick answered with a layup to tie the game at 23-23. After back-to-back traveling calls, Gannon took an advantage as Batts buried a three followed by another shot from outside the arc by junior Mollie Sebald (Broadview Heights, Ohio / Holy Name) for a 29-23 Gannon lead.

To close out the opening half, Sundberg sunk a three-pointer as time expired for a Lady Knights' 37-27 lead heading into the break.

The Cavaliers split the Lady Knights' lead in half to open the second half off a three by Funderburgh just 13 seconds in and a quick layup, 37-32. The closest the Cavaliers would come within the Lady Knights' lead was three, 41-38, with Funderburgh connecting on a pair of free throws. A 6-0 run by the Lady Knights extended their lead to nine including Batts' fourth three of the evening.

The Lady Knights recaptured their 10-point lead, 51-41, off a layup by sophomore Jennie Thies (Lakewood, N.Y. / Southwestern) with 12:56 left.

Down the stretch, the Lady Knights' held onto their lead despite the Cavaliers pulling within four points on two occasions. Their final attempt came with 5:54 left and the score 63-59. From that point, the Lady Knights went on an 8-0 run to take a 71-59 lead including Batts' fifth three of the night followed by a Blake layup with 2:42 left. The Lady Knights managed to push their lead to 13 with 2:25 left off a pair of free throws by Sundberg.

Sebald and Papich sealed the win for the Lady Knights off fast-break layups to close out the team's scoring.

Head coach Jim Brunelli earned his first regular-season victory in his debut with the Lady Knights. Brunelli was named the ninth head coach in program history on June 17, taking over the program this season after spending the five previous seasons at Anderson (S.C.) University.

The Lady Knights move to 4-0 in the all-time series with the Cavaliers, winning two games each on the road and at home.

Gannon will travel to Glenville, W.Va., to meet the Glenville State Pioneers on Saturday, Nov. 16, with a 4 p.m. tipoff.
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