Detroit-The Detroit Mercy Titans survived a tough first half, then caught fire to clinch a spot in the Horizon League Championship game. Entering Monday as the only remaining local team on the men’s or women’s side in the Motor City Madness, the Titans (18-13) beat Wright State (24-8) 71-52.
After shooting only 30 percent from the field in the first half, the Titans went 9-16 in the third quarter and 10-13 in the fourth.
“We were kind of out of rhythm because we had to play a lot of different players because of the foul trouble we were in,” Titans head coach Bernard Scott said. “Start of the second half, we could get our starters back in and those guys got in a rhythm because we weren’t fouling as much, we could get defensive stops which helped us to get into transition, and then our shooters got comfortable and started to make some shots.”
After trailing 24-23 at halftime, the Titans outscored Wright State 48-28 in the second half. Junior Forward Brianne Cohen set the tone with two baskets to give her team a 27-24 lead. Wright State would later tie the game at 34, but a three by freshman guard Anja Marinkovic started a run that would enable the Titans to put the game out of reach.
Senior guard Rosanna Reynolds overcame a cold shooting first half to score several key second half baskets, finishing with a game-high 19 points and adding five assists. For the second straight game in the tournament, junior guard Nicole Urbanick and Marinkovic had matching totals of 11 points and three three-point shots made. Cohen also scored 11. Senior guard Haleigh Ristovski lead the team with 14 rebounds including 13 defensive boards. Her job rebounding and feeding Cohen for a couple of scores further aided the Titans second-half surge.
“Haleigh’s very important to our team,” Scott said. “She’s a young lady who doesn’t get as much press as some of the others, but she’s very key to our success. Today, once again, she had 14 rebounds, she does that a lot, and she’s a very good passer for to be our four player.”
Though the Titans were already up 59-43 after three quarters, they didn’t let up as they began the fourth quarter with a 12-1 run and by mid-way through that period, there was a wave of excitement on the Titan bench which later culminated with Scott passionately giving high fives to his players as time winded down and the realization began to sink in that they were headed to the Horizon League Championship game.
The Titans will play the two-time defending Horizon League Tournament Champion Green Bay Phoenix in Tuesday’s championship game, but will get to do it representing the Motor City in the Motor City Madness.
“(It’s) definitely a great feeling,” Ristovski said. “The second we knew it was going to be in Detroit, we just wanted to represent this city.”