WHEELING - Sweet-shooting freshman Morgan Brunner scored Linsly's first eight points and finished with 25 overall as the Cadets girls spanked debuting St. John Central on Tuesday night at the Stifel Field House.
Rebounding with a solid overall effort from the previous night's loss to Frontier in the season opener, Linsly never trailed and held a double-digit advantage most of the way in collecting a 64-46 victory.
''We played about as green as our uniforms," pointed out Fighting Irish coach Bubba Kapral after watching his team connect on 19 of 62 shots and commit 19 turnovers.
Linsly’s Emma Cecil drives as St. John’s Caitlin Sliva defends during their game Tuesday night.
''Linsly having that one game under its belt made a difference. I saw them (Monday) and they looked like us (Tuesday).
''Twenty-Five (Brunner) is a big time player," Kapral continued. ''Some of the shots she hit were from downtown. But we knew that coming into the game. She hurt us, but other than that, we hurt ourselves. How many points did we leave on the table by missing a lot of easy shots?"
Brunner, scoring 12 of her 25 points in the opening quarter, put the Cadets in front 3-0 with a 3-pointer from the left corner near the St. John bench.
After Kristen Russell put the Fighting Irish on the scoreboard with a set shot from the wing, Brunner drew a foul driving to the basket and cashed both free throws. The next time the Linsly plebe touched the ball, she was on the right wing and left fly with another successful 3-pinter that elevated the lead to 8-2.
Krista Emch's putback goal made it a 7-0 run by the Cadets before Russell rebounded a missed shot for her second goal of the game.
Linsly went on to lead 18-11 at the close of the first quarter and five points from Emma Cecil helped the hosts increase the advantage to 32-20 at halftime. Two free throws from Brunner and one by JJ Jackson opening the second half elevated the lead to 35-20 and Irish never came closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
Linsly coach Erica Hall was pleased with the quick turnaround from her girls' play in the opening loss.
''Going into Monday's game, I knew we were going to be rusty with the Thanksgiving break and everything. We had a lot of of girls go home over the break. The only bad part about coming into (Tuesday's) game is we did not have a day to work on things. I saw some good things and some sloppy things but overall it was a much better team effort.
''I'm really proud of the girls. On both ends of the floor we contributed much better as a team."
Three other Cadets joined Brunner in reaching double figures as Jackson, Cecil and Miriam Nwachukwu scored 11 points each. Jackson also pulled down 11 rebounds to record a double-double.
''It's not going to take very long for coaches to know who she is," Hall said when asked about Linsly's freshman phenom.
''Morgan is a very special player," Hall noted. ''She loves basketball and is just as much a defensive player as she is an offensive player. She also expects everyone else to work as hard at the game as she does."
St. John also features a freshman dandy on the court in Marissa Rose. The 5-foot-7 point guards who excels when able to put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket, led the Fighting Irish in scoring with 21. Rose was backed by Russell's 15.
''No excuses. We just played poorly (Tuesday night)," Kapral said. ''I know we are going to get a lot better.''