MONMOUTH — Bring up the term “size” to the Winthrop girls basketball team, and you’re met with a collective giggle.

It’s sort of the running joke within the program that there is no real size to speak of. Yet, the Ramblers have found athleticism and basketball I.Q. more than make up for a lack of stature.

Guard Sage Fortin scored a game-high 19 points and the Ramblers used the post play of Maddie Perkins and Lydia Rice to shake off a slow start en route to a 44-30 win over Monmouth Academy on Monday night. Perkins added 12 points in the victory for Winthrop (4-4), while Rice added seven more.

“We’re super small, but everybody on our team is so fast,” Perkins said. “We don’t have any height on our team. Me and Lydia, we run the post, and we’re both like 5-5. We’re small, but we’re super fast and that opens up the lanes for us. We can all drive, so I think that’s our big threat.”

“I think that’s how they think they are — they feel like they’re 6 feet tall,” Winthrop co-coach Kelsey Ouellette said. “Lydia and Maddie down low, they’re just so aggressive.”

That presence down low opened up the perimeter for players like Fortin, who made seven field goals, including a pair of three-pointers. When Monmouth stretched out high to try and contain Fortin, she slashed through the lane.

That was illustrated on consecutive third-quarter drives early in the fourth quarter, when Fortin hit a trey on one trip, and then the very next time down the floor cashed in on a layup as part of a 15-0 second-half run that broke the game wide open for the Ramblers.

It wasn’t all fun and games for Winthrop at the outset.

The visitors trailed 9-0 midway through the first quarter, before a full-court press began to pay dividends. That pressure all over the floor ignited a 14-0 Rambler run that put them in front by the time the second quarter started, and they never trailed again.

With traditional, lumbering bigs in the post, Winthrop might never get the opportunity to race up and down the court as a five-person unit.

“Our bigs definitely hustle,” Fortin said. “It is a lot of work down low, and we try and look for them a lot. They’re really good at showing, ripping and going, and I think that really works best against teams.”

The athleticism eventually wore down Monmouth, which was led by 11 points from Emma Johnson.

After Abby Flanagan stuck a three-pointer from the top of the key with 3:37 left in the third quarter, tying the game at 23-23, the Mustangs went the next 11:19 without a field goal.

Winthrop opened up a 42-25 lead by the time Johnson finally ended the drought with 1:04 left to play.

“Defense is our main point,” Perkins said. “Our defense obviously translates to our offense, and once our defense starts to look good, our offense starts to look good, and then our whole game comes together.”

It came together Monday night against the Mustangs, even without any size to speak of.

“Lack of height, they definitely make up for with their aggressiveness,” Winthrop co-coach Jess Merrill said. “They know they’re not as tall, so they know they have to be aggressive to have success. They have a great mindset.”

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