Stritzel, defense contribute to Trinity’s third Red title in a row
Updated: February 11, 2013 7:59PM
RIVER FOREST — Patricia Stritzel once made six 3-pointers in a JV game, but her 3s Saturday night in the GCAC Red championship game will likely provide a more lasting memory.
Stritzel’s treys sparked Trinity to a 51-40 victory over visiting Mother McAuley. The Blazers (22-3) captured their third consecutive conference tournament title, after beating Loyola each of the previous two seasons.
Stritzel, the daughter of Trinity coach Ed Stritzel, started the season on the JV. She has gradually seen her minutes increase during the second half of the season. Stritzel scored 11 points Saturday after registering a career high 14 points against St. Ignatius in the GCAC tournament opener Jan. 28.
“At the beginning of the season, I practiced with the varsity,” Stritzel said. “As the season went on, more people became injured. I had a feeling I would get my chance.”
With the game tied at 28 to end the third quarter, Stritzel opening the scoring in the fourth with a 3 to spark a nine-point Trinity run. She made back-to-back 3s in the first quarter after the Macs took an 11-8 lead.
Trinity scored only five points in the third quarter, but outscored the Macs 23-12 in the fourth. Loyola-bound guard Taylor Nazon made all 10 of her free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 14 points.
“We felt good. We felt like we can be there; that we can compete with them (entering the fourth quarter),” McAuley coach Ashley Luke Clanton said. “In the fourth quarter, I wish we would have taken care of the basketball. We might have had a chance at the end.”
The Blazers beat McAuley (19-6) for the second time in three weeks. The key to each victory was finding a way to limit McAuley senior guard Alyssa Siwek, who was named the GCAC Red player of the year before the game. Siwek scored a team-high 13 points in the title game, but had only one basket in the second and third quarters. Her 3-pointer with 3:10 remaining was her first basket in the second half .
“They play deep (defensively), yet still fly out to the ball,” Siwek said. “We couldn’t do much.”
Junior Jasma Williams contributed 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Macs.
“It feels amazing, especially this being my senior year,” Nazon said. “This is our third (GCAC Red title). It gives us nice momentum since we have two more games before the playoffs.”