NORTHEAST GLENDALE — During the first month of the season, the members of the Glendale Adventist Academy girls' basketball team have been a reliable second-half team.
That wasn't the case Thursday night, when the Cougars couldn't generate any momentum in a Liberty League home game against Providence.
Glendale Adventist mustered only 12 second-half points in a 58-28 defeat.
Providence (14-5, 3-0 in league) used a man-to-man defensive coverage to blanket the Cougars (3-3, 0-2).
"We are not used to that kind of defense," said Glendale Adventist first-year Coach Stephen Nelson, who got a team-high 11 points from Kristie Kawamoto. "We usually start slow in the first half and we are usually a better second-half team.
"They are just a better conditioned team and we are pretty young. We'll have to be more physical the next time we play them."
Glendale Adventist trailed, 19-16, at halftime. However, the Cougars were outscored, 23-4, in the third quarter and couldn't match Providence's physical play.
Providence received a career-high 27 points from senior guard Rita Khatchadourian to take the first of two season meetings against Glendale Adventist. The teams will meet at Providence at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 3.
Providence Coach Andrew Bencze said the Pioneers regrouped in the second half.
"In the first half, things were a little rough and we were kind of all over the place and a little rattled," Bencze said. "You have to have faith in your shots and we made some big shots in the third quarter."
Providence opened the third quarter on a 12-0 run to make it 31-16 with 6:08 left. The Cougars didn't score until Caran Marquez made a jump shot to pull Glendale Adventist to within 33-18 with 4:31 remaining in the third stanza.
The Cougars received 10 points and seven rebounds from Marquez. Marquez scored all four of Glendale Adventist's third-quarter points.
Gille Nelson added five points for the Cougars. Glendale resident Janel Adraneda contributed four points for Providence.
Things began well for the Cougars, who took a 5-0 lead on a three-pointer by Kawamoto. Kawamoto registered eight first-quarter points. The teams were deadlocked at 10 after the first quarter.
A layup by Providence's Natalie Ficocelli gave the Pioneers a 15-10 lead with 6:21 left in the second quarter.
Bencze said the Cougars and Pioneers might turn into a rivalry in the future.
"It's something that can become a great fit," said Benzce, who received six points apiece from Amber Bartmus and Bea Benedicto and a game-high five steals from Kim Quijano. "They have some good players [in Chantel Robinson, Marquez and Kawamoto].
"They are a young team, but they have athletes who can do some things well."