Stout defense, Varney's complete game lead Scots past LaGrange, 78-55

Stout defense, Varney's complete game lead Scots past LaGrange, 78-55

Maryville College's defensive attack allowed 28 points off turnovers on Saturday, as the Scots picked up their first win of the season, 78-55, over LaGrange College.

The Scots forced 21 Panther turnovers on Saturday, as the squad hit the boards to out-rebound LaGrange, 42-34. MC had 19 total offensive rebounds, collecting 16 second-chance points.

Maryville's Klaire Varney went off on Saturday, as the sophomore guard tallied a near quadruple-double. She led MC with 21 points, eight steals, six rebounds, six assists and a pair of blocks on the day.

"I challenge Klaire every day to be the best player on the floor, because I think she can be the best player on the floor anytime we're out there," Head Coach Darrin Travillian said. "Today, she answered the call – especially on the defensive end. That's an area that we're always pushing her in to try to be better. You can see with all her steals and boards, she was disruptive. That got our transition game going, and it changes the tempo. She has that kind of ability, and it was just an outstanding performance."

Those forced turnovers and tempo allowed the Scots a total of 16 fastbreak points on the day.

Maryville jumped to a 19-13 lead with 7:10 left in the second quarter on a pair of Shelby Hix free throws. However, LaGrange would find a rally, outscoring the Scots, 10-1 over the next 3:18. The Panthers forced an MC timeout leading 24-20.

"The big conversation in the timeout was that we've had this moment in four of our five games," Travillian said. "In four of the five, we've had a moment where we had a lead, and the other team would take it back. We would wilt. That was the whole conversation. It wasn't some genius play, but it was just, 'We can't wilt right now. You've worked too hard, and now, this is where we have to mature, dig our heels in, get a stop and get a rebound.' And, they did."

Maryville came out of the break bucking a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers from Erin Beasley and Catherine Upshaw – both on Varney assists – to regain the lead 26-24.

The Scots rattled off a 15-2 run to end the quarter up 35-26, as they never relinquished their lead for the game.

Maryville was crucial in the paint, outscoring LaGrange, 32-28. Stopping Marilauren Farr was a key factor for Travillian's squad, as the senior post has averaged a double-double of 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season.

MC held her to just a trio of rebounds in the second half, as she tallied just three offensive boards for the game.

"She's a key figure," Travillian said. "I said to the girls in scouting report that I think she is the best low-post player in the league right now over her career. She's been really good on the blocks, and she's been a double-double machine for them. That was an area of concentration. We just tried to battle and make her catches tough. We tried to limit her second-chance opportunities. She's a pretty good shooter, but she's really good about going and getting her own and putting it in. We were just making sure that she got one contested and keep her off the board for the second one."

Farr managed just four of her 13 points as offensive put backs, as MC controlled the rebounding edge.

Maryville (1-5, 1-1 USA South) saw Varney lead the way, as Libby Gardner added 15 points, three assists, and two rebounds – both offensive. The junior guard had a trio of treys in the game, as Beasley matched her.

Beasley had a double-double 13 points and 10 rebounds, as she posted a pair of assists. Brooke McCurdy had six points off the bench, as Catherine Upshaw added five. Kelley Wandell had four points, seven rebounds, two steals and an assist, while Eckenrod had four points, four boards, three assists and a steal.

Hix added four points and three rebounds, as both Holland Jerrolds and Charity Crabtree had three points. In all, MC saw 10 players score in the game.

Maryville shot 28-of-70 (40 percent) for the game, as they connected on 11 treys at a 37.9 percent rate.

LaGrange (2-4, 0-2) shot 40.8 percent (20-of-49) from the floor, as MC's defense held them to a 3-of-11 mark from beyond the arc.

Jahpera McEachin led the Panthers off the bench with 14 points. Farr added 13 points and nine rebounds for LaGrange.

Maryville College will look next to face off with Brevard College on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Tip off in Brevard, N.C. is slated for 6 p.m.