Coast Guard makes the most of its first game by edging Mitchell
New London — Coast Guard Academy senior Annabella Farabaugh started the afternoon blinking back tears Saturday as her grandfather Larry Holbrook and her parents Christina and Alan took turns reading Farabaugh's Senior Day introduction on an oversized video board.
"It was definitely emotional," said Farabaugh of her family back home in Atlanta, not able to attend the game due to COVID-19 precautions. "I was trying not to think about it. We were about to play a game."
Farabaugh then went out and made it an even more memorable day, finishing with 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists as the Bears opened their pandemic-altered women's basketball season with a 70-63 victory over crosstown opponent Mitchell College.
Farabaugh was 8-for-14 shooting, 5-for-8 from 3-point range, swishing four 3-pointers in the first half as Coast Guard clung to a 30-27 lead.
The Bears led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter, 47-33 on a basket by Kyra Hartman, but Mitchell responded by scoring the last seven points of the half, five from the foul line, to pull within 47-40.
An uptempo fourth quarter, in which each team scored a game-high 23 points, seemed to favor Mitchell, as the Mariners carved the Coast Guard lead to five with 37.7 seconds to play and forced a Coast Guard timeout when the Bears had trouble getting the ball in bounds.
Hartman sealed the victory, however, on a three-point play with 21.8 seconds remaining that pushed the lead back to eight.
Farabaugh was then able to articulate what this senior season, which began with practice on Oct. 1 and recently included a two-week COVID quarantine for the entire team, means to her.
"It's been a super fun year for me to be on the team," Farabaugh said. "It's my favorite year so far. I wish we had played more games, but it's my favorite year. ... I read a quote recently that 'adversity is a terrible thing to waste.'
"It's been hard for me. It just has been challenging. That makes it a lot more gratifying. ... One hundred percent I would do anything to play a game; so would the rest of the team."
Coast Guard coach Alex Ivansheck wasn't at all surprised to hear Farabaugh, who was honored before the game along with manager Rachel Everson, call this unusual, unconventional season her favorite.
"I feel like I know her really well," Ivansheck said. "It's her. The senior leadership that we have, to practice from Oct. 1 until now — we had one girl in quarantine for 28 days — it's taken a lot of mental strength.
"I'm just so happy (for Farabaugh). When you talk about someone who deserves the game she's had (Saturday), she's it."
Hartman added 18 points and eight rebounds for Coast Guard and Jacqueline Ward had 11 points, five assists and four steals.
Freshman Alexia Watson had 20 points and nine rebounds and Amina Wiley finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for Mitchell, which also opened its season, having played an exhibition game Thursday night against Albertus Magnus.
Le'Sandra Turner had 14 points, seven rebounds and seven steals for Mitchell. New London graduate Leilani McClellan had seven points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Mitchell's breakneck pace made the game frantic at times, especially down the stretch, which is the exact style the Mariners like to play, coach Courtney Burns said.
"We're looking to push, we're looking to get up the floor quick," Burns said. "Sixty-three points is a little low for us (the Mariners beat Albertus 85-70). I thought offensively we were a little bit stagnant."
Mitchell also practiced for a time in the fall before resuming Feb. 1.
"It was more frantic that I would have liked, more turnovers than I would have liked," Ivansheck said. "But usually at the end of February, you're not playing your first game. It usually looks a little cleaner."
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