At halftime, the Bulldogs trailed 25-19, but in the third the Patriots outscored BBA 16-4 to put the game away heading into the fourth.
"We talked quickly at halftime. The only thing we talked about was our intensity on defense," said MAU coach Brian Harrington. "It needed to get better. They purposely slowed us down. We knew that that would be the situation. I think we did a good job defensively of making them move faster than they wanted to."
MAU would come out red-hot to start the contest, outscoring BBA 11-2 in the first quarter. Keira Goodell (8 points) hit a three to make it 8-2, then Carly Rogers (7 points) converted an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 11-2.
But in the second, the Bulldogs slowed the tempo of the game down and clawed back into the contest.
MAU would score the first bucket of the quarter through Rogers, but then the Bulldogs outscored the Patriots 17-12 throughout the final 7:30 of the half to make it 25-19 at the break. In the second quarter, Hailey Brockett knocked down a three off a pass from Tessa Roberts that cut the deficit to 22-15, then Maggie Oliver (game-high 12 points) scored five points, including an old-fashioned three-point play herself to finish out the quarter.
"I think that in the first half, we did what we wanted to do, we played the way we wanted to," said BBA coach Ed Panzarino. "The second half, that is why MAU is so good right now. They kept it going."
To start the second half, Maddy Main (5 points) converted an and-one opportunity to make it 28-19, sparking a 7-0 run to open the third. After BBA's Stephanie Boucher (3 points) hit a free throw to stop the run, MAU responded with a 6-0 spurt capped by an offensive putback from Rogers to make it 38-20. 11 of the team's 16 points in the third came from the bench.
"I thought offensively, [our bench] played a better game than the starting group," Harrington said. "They are younger, they have energy. They didn't look at this game as a win, they just wanted to go out and play."
In the fourth BBA would post 18 points, but MAU posted 20 points of its own to see out the win and finish out with the 61-41 score.
While Harrington was happy to get the win, the coach pondered on how his team would handle opposing teams trying to slow the team down.
"We are going to have to work at it, and we have been talking about it at practice," Harrington said. "We know it is coming. We have to prepare for it. But we can still speed teams up with our defense without having to make shots. Of course, making shots in the end helps us out so we can get set up [in the press]."
For Panzarino, the game was a firm reminder on what the Bulldogs have to do to get to the level that MAU, and other elite teams across the state, are playing at.
"We played two good quarter, and we played spots in the third," Panzarino said. "They fought hard to the end. I was happy with that. But now we have to learn how to play four quarters of basketball."
Main finished wtih eight rebounds for MAU, while Nicholson posted eight for BBA. Kathryn Frasier finished the game with a team-high nine points for MAU.
MAU moves to 6-2 with the win while BBA falls to 2-5.