Lady Hornets respond to challenge from Hot Springs
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
After seeing their 13-point second-half lead whittled to 3, the Bryant Lady Hornets got clutch baskets from Jasmine Carter and Amber Westbrook and pressure free throws from Carter, Sydney Simpson and Brittany Mills as they held on for their third consecutive win, 39-33, over Hot Springs on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
The Lady Trojans stayed close in the game with a patient offense and a zone defense that made Bryant work for its shots. But when the lead expanded in the third quarter, Hot Springs turned up the pressure and made a run. They were within 28-25 going into the final four minutes of the game. Bryant, which had been held to just a free throw over the first four minutes of the final quarter, got back on track when Carter nailed a 3. And, after an exchange of turnovers, Carter absorbed a charge as Hot Springs’ Ashley McDonald drove the lane. At the other end, Westbrook scored inside despite being fouled, pumping the lead back to 33-25.
McDonald’s three-point play kept Hot Springs in it and the Lady Trojans forced a Bryant turnover to get a chance to get closer. But, after a timeout, Bryant forced a turnover and, with 2:00 left, Carter canned a pair from the line to help maintain the lead.
Jessica Harding hit a jumper in the lane in response and the Lady Trojans had a chance to get closer after a turnover. But McDonald missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:37 showing. Bryant then spread the floor and the result was productive trips to the free throw line for Simpson and Mills to offset a 3-pointer by McDonald with :09 to go.
Carter led all scorers with 12. Sydney Simpson had 9 and Anna Simpson 7 for Bryant. Olivia Green paced Malvern with 11.
Both teams were patient early and the result was a low-scoring first quarter. Bryant took the lead for good when Brittany Grant fed Anna Simpson who knocked down a jumper from the lane to make it 4-3 with 2:15 left in the period. It stayed that way until Westbrook made a steal that led to her own baseline jumper with :19 left, giving the Lady Hornets a 3-point edge going into the second period.
Baskets by Grant, Carter and Sydney Simpson to start the second quarter made it 12-3 as Hot Springs went over half of the second quarter before scoring again.
Bryant led 14-7 when Anna Simpson hit a 12-foot jay and Carter followed with a triple to make it 19-7. Two free throws at the end of the period allowed Hot Springs to stay within 10 at the break.
Harding scored the first basket of the second half but when Sydney Simpson canned a trey and Anna Simpson scored inside, Bryant’s lead was 13. Mills added a 3 before the third quarter was over. It ended with the Lady Hornets up 27-17.
But, over the first four minutes of the final period, Bryant managed to add just one free throw as Hot Springs made its run before Carter’s 3 turned the tide.