McPeak leads Lady Hornets to payback win over Belles
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 continue posting 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
For a team that had lost many more games than they’d hoped to, a win, any win, even one in a game in which the two teams combined to commit 55 turnovers, is welcome in the extreme.
Going all out at full speed, the Bryant Lady Hornets overcame 31 turnovers to exact a little vengeance on the Mount St. Mary’s Belles, 54-45, when the two teams met in Bryant’s final home game of 2006, Tuesday, Feb. 21.
When the two teams play at Mount St. Mary’s on Jan. 27, the Lady Hornets suffered a 47-43 loss after they had led most of the game. They felt like they’d had the rug pulled out from under them in that one, so the win in the re-match was twice as sweet.
“I think I want it every night but, maybe tonight, I wanted it a little bit more because the last time we played them,” admitted Bridgette McPeak, one of three seniors on the Lady Hornets team who played for the last time in their home gym. “We should’ve won that game and got it taken away from us. This was payback, it was how it should’ve been the first time.”
McPeak sparked her team’s victory with 23 points, six rebounds, five steals and five assists. Junior Amber Gibbs added 14 points and six boards while sophomore Jasmine Carter came off the bench to add 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
“I thought we needed a little bit more intensity, to pick it up a little bit,” McPeak said of her full tilt performance. “That’s what we’ve been needing all season. You’ve got to get everybody pumped up for each game and I do the best I can, trying to step up and be a leader.”
Though they struggled all season, the Lady Hornets never lacked for effort.
“We’re a team and we’ve got to stick together,” McPeak stated. “We go down hard sometimes, we’ve had blowouts but it’s never too hard on you when you have your teammates beside you. We’re always picking each other up. It’s never been negative. It’s always been, we’ll do better next time.”
The Lady Hornets fell behind 8-2 early in the game but you had to know things were going to turn around when McPeak fired in a long, off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first quarter, capping a rally that cut the margin to 11-10.
Still, the Belles maintained an advantage until, with the score 15-12, McPeak hit a 12-foot jumper then combined with Kayla Pitts on a steal and fed Gibbs for a basket to give the Lady Hornets their first lead 16-15.
The game was tied at 18 and 20 before a driving layup by Mount St. Mary’s Bre Wilkerson in the final minute gave her team a 22-21 lead that held until half.
The Belles opened the second half with a 9-2 run to build a 31-23 lead. McPeak hit a free throw then hustled after the carom from the missed second shot and scored to get Bryant back on track. After Megan Vekman scored for the Mount, Carter grabbed an offensive rebound and answered and McPeak made a steal that eventually led to a short jumper by Gibbs that had the lead down to 3.
It was 35-32 going into the fourth quarter and 38-34 when the Lady Hornets began their rally. McPeak hit a follow shot and, after a Belles turnover, Jessie Sutton fed Gibbs for a basket that tied the game, 38-38.
Moments later, Mount St. Mary’s held a 42-40 lead when Woods buried a 3 to put Bryant back on top. After another turnover, Gibbs hit a layup to make it a 3-point game.
With 3:17 to play, Gibbs fouled out but Alane Jackson missed both free throws and, with 3:01 to go, Carter followed her own miss, scored and was fouled. Moments later, Woods made a steal and Carter cashed in off a spin move in the post to give the Lady Hornets a 50-42 lead.
The Mount’s Kristie Flynn hit a free throw but, in turn, McPeak hit two, giving Bryant its largest lead of the game going into the final :30.
Lauren Ramsey hit a layup for Mount St. Mary’s, but Carter answered with a pair of free throws that set the final score.