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Cockerham leads team with 13 points against Mount Vernon Nazarene

GOSHEN, Ind. — Graysen Cockerham led Goshen College with 13 points and all players with 6 steals Wednesday night as Mount Vernon Nazarene University topped the Maple Leafs 65-54 at Gunden Gymnasium in each team’s Crossroads League women’s basketball opener.

Cockerham shot 6-for-12 from the floor and added 3 rebounds and an assist in 32 minutes. Claire Rauck and TaNiece Chapman added 11 each for the Maple Leafs (6-3, 0-1), who also got a game-high 10 boards from Chapman as the freshman recorded her second straight double-double.

Dani Ellerbrock led all players with 14 points for Mount Vernon Nazarene (7-1, 1-0), which put three players in double figures despite Goshen’s defense holding the Cougars below 40 percent shooting. MVNU was 9-for-19 (47.4 percent) from long range.

The visitors took an early lead behind 5 points from Elizabeth Fee over the first 5 minutes, going 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) in the first quarter to lead 25-9 at its end. Ellerbrock scored 9 points in the lid-lifting stanza to lead all scorers; Fee had 8, while Goshen’s offense came from four different players. Fee chipped in 4 more points in the second quarter as MVNU led 42-21 at halftime.

Goshen recorded scoring and rebounding advantages in the second half, shooting 44 percent (11-of-25) from the floor while keeping Mount Vernon Nazarene on the wrong side of 30 percent at 8-for-27.

The Maple Leafs outscored the Cougars 37-23 in the last 20 minutes, including a 5-minute shutout streak spanning the quarter break with an 8-0 Goshen run. Rauck personally added a 6-0 run with two consecutive triples in a 90-second span in the fourth quarter.

Cockerham scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting after halftime to facilitate the effort while Chapman led all rebounders with 7 in that span. Cockerham also posted 4 second-half steals as all 6 MVNU turnovers led to transition opportunities for the Maple Leafs.

Ellerbrock led all players with 5 assists and Keyaira Murff registered a game-high 3 blocks for Goshen. Rauck and Ellerbrock each drained three 3-pointers to tie for the game lead.

Quoting Goshen head coach Stephanie Miller:

“This was a great reminder to our team that we are going to need to learn to play four quarters of basketball in the Crossroads League. MVNU did a nice job exposing some of the soft spots in our zone, and we struggled to adjust on the fly. I thought we were too timid offensively and didn’t aggressively attack their paint in the first half. I was happy with the way we came out in the second half and adjusted well in the man-to-man defense, attacked the rim, and worked a harder to establish ourselves on the glass.

“It was frustrating to get off to such a rough start, but I was very pleased with how the players responded to the deficit, kept their heads, and worked together to chip away at a comeback effort. I am pleased with all this young team is learning and their willingness to keep taking in these lessons, both good and bad.

“Taniece Chapman is really working hard on the glass for us and I like seeing her confidence continue to grow. She is a weapon right now and it’s great to see her start to really flex her muscles out there. Claire Rauck hit some big shots for us to help close the gap in the second half and I was also pleased with the intangibles that Logan Kyre brought to the floor tonight; she just helped lift our level of play.

“As a team, we need to hit more free throws, cash in the easy buckets, and continue to reduce our turnovers in order to maximize our offensive output and not leave so much on the table. I feel confident that we will be able to put four quarters of Crossroads League level basketball together in the near future. We have to, because three is just not going to cut it.”

Up Next: Goshen is off for Thanksgiving weekend, one of three seven-day hiatuses in the season schedule, before traveling to traditional rival Bethel for a 6 p.m. tip-off on Wednesday, Nov. 28. That game is part of a doubleheader with the men’s game following at 8.