Comeback win shows growth of ’Berg women

Down 13 to Marietta in the second half Saturday, there had to be a lingering feeling in Heidelberg’s fans that the team might fold.

Over the last several seasons, the HU women’s basketball team would face a deficit like the one it stared at Saturday and wait for the eventual loss.

But this year, things are different. Heidelberg rallied and not only won the game, but did it going away,

Down double digits against Marietta, the Student Princes outscored the Pioneers 43-21 over the final 15:26, and beat them 78-69.

“That was awesome, we really came together as a team,” said Heidelberg guard Allie Hawkins, who had 16 points. “And like coach said, last year we would have crumbled.”

Not Saturday.

“I knew for us, it was always possible to make that comeback,” said Kathleen Phillips, a senior who scored 24 points in the win.

A reason for that is Morgan Shriver, a former HU player who was an assistant to former coach Marcie Alberts the last few seasons. Shriver got her first win at Seiberling Gymnasium Saturday. The victory was significant for other reasons.

* By improving to 7-2, the Princes already have exceeded their 2012-13 win total.

* By improving to 2-2 in the OAC, they have matched their conference win total from last season.

The roster has gone through some turnover, but some key players remain. Phillips still is HU’s top scorer, while Hawkins, Paige Ricketts and Columbian graduate Megan Miller all were contributors last year.

The most significant additions to the starting five include Molly Schriber, who was hurt most of last season, and freshman Carli Patrick.

Patrick is averaging more than 14 points and five rebounds a game.

But the biggest difference in this group doesn’t come across on the stat sheet.

Shriver has a belief in her team that the players have bought into. It was evident Saturday, when HU was able to not only rally, but close.

“If we can get them to play like they in the last 10 minutes from the tip, we’ll be a hard team to beat,” Shriver said.

Saturday marked HU’s final conference game of calendar year 2013. It has two non-conference contests over the next week.

It will be a chance to continue building the momentum the team has enjoyed over the first month of the season.

For a program that has had two winning seasons this century, momentum is a big thing.