Tonawanda News —
On the very next possession Wildcats guard Lindsay Stoddard made a contested 3-pointer to regain the lead for her team with :50 remaining at 68-67. The Tigers turned it over after that when Daemen freshman Leah McDonell, the 2013 Tonawanda News Player of the Year, stole the ball and took off on the break.
McDonell was fouled and went to the line, but missed the front end of the 1-and-1, and Holy Family secured the rebound. The Tigers hit three free throws down the stretch and Daemen missed a last-second shot attempt at the buzzer.
Skolen said it's hard to be happy about a loss, but that his young team — the Wildcats graduated five seniors off last season's Unites States Collegiate Athletic Association national championship squad — is still learning how to win.
"Afterwards you look and you think, 'Well (Holy Family) is ranked 12th in the country and they're a good team.' We had an opportunity to win the game," he said. "We're so young and it's the kind of thing — so many things that you take for granted aren't necessarily there yet.
"We don't know how to react because we have three freshman starters," he continued. "It's the youngest and shortest team I've coached in my 22 years and there are so many different situations that they haven't been through it yet. We have a lot to learn."
As for McDonell, who finished with five points, four assists and two steals, Skolen loves her attitude and work ethic and expects the former Cardinal O'Hara standout to continue to get better as the season progresses.
"Leah plays as hard as anybody — she's always hustling and always giving 110 percent," he said. "She's a great player to coach because she's going to do anything I ask her to do. I know offensively she'll probably be up and down this year, but I'm very confident that her hustle and intensity will be there all the time."Follow @tonanewssports and sports editor @MattParrino on Twitter for complete local sports coverage.