By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, OH---The No. 12 Express women's basketball team, buoyed by the return of two of the nation's best players, stomped Columbus State Community College 94-55 in the SHAC today.
Aja Hall (Fostoria/Fostoria, Ohio), the team's leading scorer and the nation's 13th best scorer, and Hailey Galvan (Archbold/Archbold, Ohio), the nation's top shot blocker, both returned to action after missing time. Hall has been out the previous two games, while Galvan had missed the previous five games.
Hall came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with 21 points, while adding 12 rebounds and one assist. Since coming off the bench, Hall has drastically improved her free throw shooting. As a starter, she is 32-for-56, while as a reserve, she is 33-for-42. Additionally, the sophomore now has 763 career points, which is good for 12th place on the career scoring list. She needs 17 more points to crack the top ten.
Galvan had seven blocks to push her season total to 76 in 12 games played, while adding two points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals. With 14 guaranteed team games remaining, the sophomore center sits 52 blocks short of the single season block record and 70 blocks short of the career record. Heading into the season, she held the national mark for most blocks in one game with 11. She has broken that twice this year with two games of 12 apiece.
The best overall game for the Express may have came from sophomore point guard Kieona Foster (Shawnee/Lima, Ohio), who finished with six points, a team-high 14 rebounds, a team-high nine assists, and one steal. It was her second 14 rebound game of the season.
Other top performers included: freshman point guard Uniqua Mitchell (Martin Luther King/Detroit, Mich.) with 15 points, two rebounds, three assists and three blocks; freshman forward Emma-Jean Ricketts (Anthony Wayne/Waterville, Ohio) with 12 points, four rebounds and one assist; freshman guard Mackenzie Heacock (Arlington/Arlington, Ohio) with 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and one steal; freshman guard Alyssa Lassey (Ida/Ida, Mich.) with 10 points, two rebounds, three assists and a team-high five steals; and freshman forward Karahn Scott (Scott/Toledo, Ohio) with nine points, eight rebounds and one assist.
As a team, the Express shot extremely well from the field as they finished 32-for-67 (47.8 percent) overall from the field, 11-for-16 (68.8 percent) from three point range and 19-for-23 (82.6 percent) from the foul line. Their three point field goal percentage sets a new school record for best in a game as a team. It broke the old mark of 6-for-9 (66.7 percent) set on Dec. 7, 1997 and their free throw percentage was a season high.
Meanwhile, Columbus State shot a dismal 19-for-80 overall (23.8 percent) from the field, 7-for-30 (23.3 percent) from three point range and 10-for-13 (76.9 percent) from the foul line. The Cougars were led by Chelsie Damron, who had 10 points and four assists, while Katie Stevens had a nice all-around game with eight points, four rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. Karis Watts led the Cougars in steals with four.
Owens held advantages in rebounds (63 to 35), assists (27 to 14), blocks (10 to 4), steals (11 to 10), points in the paint (36 to 20), points off turnovers (22 to 18), and bench points (42 to 19). The Express never trailed in the game and held their largest lead of 42 with 3:17 remaining in the game.
Since beginning their twice annual OCCAC matchup, Owens has owned Columbus State. They have never lost at home (18-0) and are 31-4 overall in the series.
The Express are now 14-3 overall and 1-0 in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference, while Columbus State falls to 11-4 overall and 0-1 in the OCCAC.
Owens is back in action this coming Wednesday Jan. 11 in the SHAC as they take on Ohio State University's club team beginning at 5:30 p.m. The game is the first half of a doubleheader as the men will play at 7:30 p.m.