CONWAY — Bryant Lady Hornets freshman coach Nathan Castaldi tried two sets of five players to try to get his team going in the early stages of his team’s game against the Conway White Lady Cats Thursday night at Buzz Bolding Arena.
Though both played pretty well on defense, they just couldn’t find the bottom of the net. In fact, they struggled to get shots against the physical Lady Cats. As a result, Conway White built a 7-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and held a 10-0 lead before Allison Steen broke the ice for the Lady Hornets with a free throw at the 5:29 mark of the second quarter.
And when final score ends up 32-23, well, a 10-0 deficit in the early going kind of says it all.
Sparked by a game-high 15 points from Kalia Walker, the Lady Hornets made a run at Conway White. Though they trailed by as much as 15 in the third quarter, Bryant got within 30-23 with 1:25 left in the game but went dry after that.
Nine turnovers by the Lady Cats and a 3-for-12 performance at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter helped facilitate the comeback.
Steen finished with 5 points and 13 rebounds. Allie Dugan scored 2 and Megan Lee hit a free throw. Conway White had no one score more than 9 points but had seven players get on the board.
After Steen broke the ice for Bryant, Walker hit a free throw. Two Lady Cat free throws made it 12-2 but then Walker hit a 3 and followed up with a pair of free throws to make it a 5-point game
But the Lady Hornets could get no closer. It was 16-10 at the half.
Bryant not only struggled from the field (6 of 36) but from the line (9 of 21). The Lady Hornets were 5 of 14 in the first half yet trailed by just 6.
Conway, however, opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run. Bryant didn’t score until Walker hit two free throws with 2:08 left in the period. It was 27-12 going into the final period.
To start the fourth, Walker was fouled on a 3-point try and converted two free throws. On the missed third shot, Steen rebounded and missed but followed her shot and scored. And when Dugan hit a 15-footer following a Conway turnover, the Lady Hornets were within 27-18 with 4:37 to go.
The Lady Cats pushed the margin back out to 12 but Steen scored inside off a nice feed from Meagan Chism. Steen and Walker combined on a steal to give Bryant a chance to get closer but a turnover cost them.
Neither team scored again until Walker’s triple with 1:25 left, which had Bryant within 30-23.
The Lady Hornets had opportunities in the final minute as the Lady Cats missed seven consecutive free throws but they were unable to score.
The game was the final non-conference outing for the Lady Hornets. They’ll open the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference slate on Monday, Jan. 11, when they host the rival Benton Lady Panthers.