Boosted by Iyana O'Neal's 14 points and Jennifer Irwin's 12, the Falcons (4-3) completed their pre-season schedule with their most impressive performance so far, a 69-49 win over Concord (0-6).
"I thought we played with very good intensity, which we'd been lacking a little bit," said Gossett. We've been working real hard to do that in practice."
The Falcons began the game with a 10-1 run and enjoyed an 8-0 run to begin the second quarter, building a 27-8 lead with 5:49 to go in the first half. They never looked back, riding a fine defensive effort by the entire starting five all the way to victory.
Stepped-up performances by O'Neal and Karena Trice, who pushed the Concord offense away from the paint, led to easy transition baskets on the other end and allowed the Falcons to take a 39-10 lead into the locker room at the half. "It allowed us to get to some of the longer passes, which allowed us to get some fast break points," said Gossett.
Concord struggled the entire night and never led, despite outscoring the Falcons 39-30 in the second half.
Three Falcon players scored in double figures, including Aubrey Linder, whose 14 points provided some spark off the bench. The trio of O'Neal, Irwin and Linder, each of whom scored in double figures, contributed 23 of the Falcons' 39 first-half points.
"We all did good," said senior guard Kim Kicenski, who finished with six points. "We all did our part. It wasn't a one-man show; everyone played and pulled it together and worked really well."
Although the game was never in question, the Falcons' deficiencies were exposed in the second half after Concord made some key defensive adjustments at halftime.
Concord coach Brianna Whiteside instituted a press that completely stifled the Freedom offense, holding Linder, who led the Falcons in scoring in the first half, to only three second-half points.
"I didn't necessarily have the first-team kids in there when they were doing that," said Gossett. "But we work on it enough that I would expect us to do it better than that. That is something we'll need to address in practice and work hard at."
Concord's late rally brought them within 17, at 66-49 late in the fourth quarter, but that was the closest they got. Concord guard Karina Dekker led the Minutemen in scoring with 13 points.
The late run by Concord had little effect on the psyche of the Falcons, according to Kicenski. "We all had a down-time," said Kicenski. "Then we put it all back together, had some leadership and pulled through."
The convincing win erases the pain of Freedom's 14-point loss to Mission San Jose in its previous contest, and sends the team into BVAL play on a good note.
The Falcons return to the court Wednesday, Jan. 2 at Heritage, which has compiled a 3-3 record so far this preseason. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.