There's a good reason why Macomb has placed itself atop the MCCAA Eastern Conference women's basketball standings.
Defense, defense, defense.
The Monarchs held Alpena to its second lowest output of the season, running away with a 63-37 victory over the Lumberjacks on Saturday in ACC's home finale at Park Arena.
ACC (11-16, 6-11 MCCAA) went scoreless over the last six minutes of the first half, then was limited to 17 second-half points as the Lumberjacks' offense was tied in knots by a bigger and quicker Macomb unit.
"They're a tough team," said ACC coach Bobby Allen. "They go 6-foot-3, 6-foot-2, 6-foot-2 across the board. I've got one 5-foot-9 girl. But I was impressed with the way we battled and hung in there."
Prior to ACC's offense disappearing, the Lumberjacks were playing some of their best ball of the year. Alpena used that performance to hold a lead on Macomb for about a 10-minute stretch of the first half, including a six-point edge 12 minutes into the contest.
"In the first half we played with them," said Allen. "But for some reason we always have these five, six, seven-minute lulls where we don't score."
It couldn't have come at a worse time, either. ACC still was ahead, 20-16, after a basket by Kayla Weaver, but the Lumberjacks failed to score again the rest of the half. Still, ACC only trailed 26-20 at the intermission. The margin ultimately mattered little as ACC's drought continued into the first three minutes of the second half. By that time Macomb was in front 36-22. Over the rest of the game Macomb also ran off spurts of 8 and 9 unanswered points to make the difference as large as 33 points.
ACC, which shot 30 percent from the floor, was led by Weaver's 10 points. She also had four boards, which was well below her average. Part of that was due to Macomb's distinct size advantage. The Monarchs owned the interior and their top two scorers were the frontcourt duo of Dominique Mahone (13 points) and Precious Allen (12 points). Seventeen of those points came in the second half as they dominated the action.
The victory was the 11th straight for the first-place Monarchs (21-7, 16-1).
ACC finishes the season on Wednesday at Wayne.
MACOMB (63): Hines 1 0-0 2, Thomas 2 1-1 5, Woyehoski 2 1-4 5, Allen 6 0-3 12, Mahone 5 3-4 13, Der-Ghazarian 0 0-1 0, Holdsworth 1 0-0 3, Carter 1 1-2 5, Theut 1 0-0 3, Saikowski 2 2-5 6, Kehrer 4 1-1 9.
ALPENA (37): Burley 0 4-7 4, Grambau 3 0-0 8, Jamieson 3 0-0 6, Weaver 5 0-1 10, Stieg 1 0-0 2, Handrich 2 0-2 4, Smith 1 0-0 3.