Bryant Lady Hornets dismiss Belles

By Rob Patrick

Haley Montgomery scored 16 points off the bench for Bryant.

When a basketball team plays at the pace the Bryant Lady Hornets like to play, it's understood that both teams are going to make their runs. The Lady Hornets seemed to have learned that this season and it has helped them persevere when things are going to so well. They also have a knack for maximizing when things are going their way.

So, when the Mount St. Mary's Belles whittled what had been a 20-point Bryant lead down to 11 early in the fourth quarter of their 7A-Central Conference game at the Hornets' Nest on Tuesday, Feb. 3, there was no panic among the Lady Hornets. They seemed to know they would still get their turn at making a run and everything would turn out just fine, a confidence born of success.

And sure enough, the Lady Hornets gradually extended that margin again, eventually to as much as 22 points on the way to a 77-56 win to start the second half of the league's home-and-home schedule.

Bryant head coach Blake Condley was asked, after the game, if he was worried when the big lead was trimmed. 

"Oh, a little," he allowed, "because they've got a couple of good shooters and they can make a run. We had a 15- or 16-point lead at their place and they cut it down to 1 before we started playing well again. That goes through your mind but that's something we've been trying to talk about as a team, to limit the other team's runs. I thought the girls got focused in and stopped that run and got one going for us." 

The victory improved the Lady Hornets to 16-3 overall, 7-1 in conference play. They're on their way to Van Buren on Friday, Feb. 6. Mount St. Mary's falls to 8-12 and 2-5 going into a home contest against Cabot.[more] 

"One thing the girls want to do is protect home and the last home game we lost," noted Condley, referring to the 75-60 setback to league-leading North Little Rock. "Right from the start, I felt like the girls just seemed to have that determination and drive that they were going to make sure they did what they had to to win the game tonight."

The Lady Hornets led 50-30 with 3:58 left in the third quarter. The Mount St. Mary's rally started with a free throw by Courtney Wharton, was spurred by a pair of hoops from Debbie Ohukwube and concluded early in the fourth quarter on a short jumper by Kayla Gardner and a 3 from Hollyn Hum which made it 54-43.

Shanika Johnson

But a basket inside by Bryant's Kenzee Calley started things back the other way. Ohukwube hit a free throw but, in turn, so did Calley. And when Calley's second shot didn't go, Alana Morris rebounded and scored to make it 59-44.

Bryant still led 68-54 with 2:18 left to play but Hannah Goshien drained a 3, Morris scored off an inbounds play and, after a steal by Taylor Hughes, Goshien turned in a three-point play to produce that 22-point advantage going into the final 1:20 of play.

Five Bryant players scored in double figures and a sixth came close. Anna Simpson led with 17, all but 4 in the second half. Montgomery came in off the bench to add a season-high 16 with Morris, Goshien and Calley all pitching in with 11. Hughes, who drilled a pair of 3's to start the game, finished with 8 points.

Mount St. Mary's was led by Ohukwube's 15 and Gardner's 14.

The Belles never led in the game. They managed to tie it at 6 and 8 after Hughes' early burst. But when Morris grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with 5:07 left in the opening period, the Lady Hornets were ahead to stay.

Calley swished a 12-footer off a nice feed from Simpson to further fuel the early run. Montgomery added a three-point play on a run to the rack then buried a triple to make it 18-8. Gardner interrupted, following her own miss, but Hughes fed Goshien for a layup that gave the Lady Hornets a 20-10 lead going into the second period.

Amanda Westbrook opened the second quarter with a 3 for the Belles but Morris answered in kind and Simpson drove for a layup to make it 25-13. After a Mount timeout, Gardner scored but Montgomery sliced through the defense for a layup and the lead continued to swell until, in the final minute, Montgomery added an easy deuce off a steal by Goshien. Morris and Hughes combined on a theft that led to a trip to the free-throw line for Simpson, who converted twice to make it 38-22 at the half.

The first 20-point lead came midway through the third quarter when a run of baskets by Calley, Hughes, Simpson and Montgomery was only interrupted by one bucket by Ohukwunbe, making it 46-26 with 5:01 left in the period.

It was the eighth time this season the Lady Hornets surpassed the 70-point mark. They average 68 points a game. 

LADY HORNETS 77, BELLES 56

Score by quarters

Mount St. Mary's 10 12 16 18 — 56

BRYANT 20 18 16 23 — 77

BELLES (8-12, 2-5) 56

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb. fls. pts.

o-d-t

Wharton 1-10 4-6 0-1 1 1 6

Hum 1-5 2-2 1-0 1 2 5

Westbrook 3-4 1-1 1-3 4 2 8

Gardner 7-12 0-2 5-5 10 5 14

Ohukwube 7-13 1-2 3-3 6 3 15

Kaplan 0-2 0-0 0-2 2 1 0

Taylor 1-4 0-0 1-1 2 2 3

Sprick 0-1 3-4 1-3 4 1 3

Parker 0-0  2-2 0-1 1 0 2

McAlister 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Stafford 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Hugan 0-0 0-0 0-2 2 2 0

Team rebs. 0-1 1

Totals 20-31 13-19 12-22 34 20 56

LADY HORNETS (16-3, 7-1) 77

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb. fls. pts.

o-d-t

Hughes 3-10 0-0 2-1 3 1 8

Goshien 3-8 4-5 3-2 5 1 11

Calley 5-6 1-2 1-1 2 1 11

Morris 5-13 0-0 1-7 8 3 11

Simpson 6-10 5-6 3-4 7 3 17

Montgomery 5-10 5-5 2-2 4 0 16

Johnson 1-5 0-0 1-0 1 1 2

Parish 0-1 0-0 2-1 3 0 0

Stearns 0-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 1

Neal 0-0 0-2 0-0 0 0 0

Tucker 0-0 0-0  0-0 0 0 0

Nelson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Hendricks 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Harrison 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team rebs. 2-2 4

Totals 28-65 16-22 17-20 37 10 77

Three-point field goals: Mount St. Mary's 3-14 (Hum 1-4, Taylor 1-3, Westbrook 1-2, Wharton 0-5), Bryant 5-16 (Hughes 2-5, Montgomery 1-4, Goshien 1-3, Morris 1-2, Johnson 0-2). Turnovers: Mount St. Mary's 26, Bryant 15. 

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