Dec. 8—AUBURN — Central Maine Community College ran a full-court press, executed a flawless fast break and changed defenses with the speed of a blinking red light.
CMCC's precision baffled New Hampshire Technical Institute for four quarters as the undefeated Mustangs (12-0) waltzed off with a lopsided 97-23 victory over the Lynx (2-4) in a women's basketball game on Wednesday night.
Illnesses, which sidelined Emily Strachan and several other players, didn't prevent the Mustangs from strong-arming NHTI. CMCC turned to its bench to put the kibosh on the Lynx.
"We've been sick all week," CMCC coach Andrew Morong said. "This is the first time I have seen six or seven of our players all week, so we have been going through some illness. Obviously, we were missing Emily Strachan, who is the best player in the USCAA, so other girls had to step up and fill her role today and kind of do a lot of things she does.
"Everyone who went into the game made a positive impact immediately. I am just very proud of how we held ourselves accountable."
By halftime, the Mustangs constructed a 52-11 lead — and they eventually tacked on another 45 points in the second half.
"In the first quarter, we said we wanted to come out swinging," Morong said. "We figured they would have been a little intimidated so we just really wanted to force the issue and we pulled off the press in the last three quarters, but that didn't stop our intensity on defense in the half-court, and this allowed us to work on really changing our defenses in the half-court. We were playing multiple defenses almost every possession ..."
Sophomore forward Destiny Mora Lopez, CMCC's go-to option underneath, topped all scorers with 20 points. She hit 10 of her 14 field goals.
"I think that we supported each other through every little thing that we've done," Mora Lopez said. "Like no one sees what we do outside of the game. No one sees the girls working really hard in practice and no one sees what we do off the court.
"So it is good to see that energy flow throughout the game and continue throughout the game."
But Mora Lopez said there is a positive side in a game against a team that came to play with only six players.
"It is good for CM because it is making sure that we can still play CM basketball," she said. "No matter what adversity we face, no matter what the scoreboard says, it doesn't matter. No matter what, we still play CM basketball."
Mustang sophomore guard Luna Love tossed in five of her nine 3-point attempts for 15 points, and teammate Cyla Moore made good on five of her six field-goal attempts for 10 points.
The Lynx's Jessica Allen turned in the team-high 13 points.
But Morong was beaming with pride at how well the Mustangs jelled together.
"Consistency wise, when something was working, we went back to it," Morong said. "In previous games, something would have worked well and we wouldn't go to it again for five possessions.
"This time we had our high-low against their zone was really working. We just kept doing it, and when Luna got hot from the 3-point line, we kept finding Luna.
"I think all those things are really good. I think that is developing our basketball IQ because a lot of our freshmen got a ton of minutes tonight and they need that court time to develop those instincts and it was important for us."