Lady Hornets whip Belles, nail down league’s third seed
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
LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Lady Hornets will be the third seed from the AAAAA-Central Conference when the Class AAAAA State Tournament begins next week, thanks to a regular-season ending 53-32 thumping of the Mount St. Mary’s Belles.
Bryant takes a 21-6 record into the tourney. The Lady Hornets went 9-5 in conference play. They will open on Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m., against t he No. 2 team from the AAAAA-East, most likely West Memphis.
Against Mount St. Mary’s, the Lady Hornets scorched the nets at a 55 percent clip (21 of 38). Their worst shooting quarter was the first when, despite going 4 for 12 from the field, they whipped up an 11-5 lead. Amanda Grappe had 4 on her way to a game-high 17 points and Allison Grappe had 4 of her 5 points in the game.
In addition, Bridgette McPeak contributed a three-point play to start a night in which she went 7 of 8 from the field for a season-high 15 points.
Bryant forced eight Belles turnovers in the second quarter on the way to taking control of the game. Kaci Melhorn scored all 6 of her points in the quarter including a three-point play with 2:50 left in the half that bumped Bryant’s lead to 21-9.
That came on the heels of a jumper by McPeak. Amanda Grappe followed with a steal, earning a trip to the free-throw line where she converted twice. Kalin Dreher then blocked a shot and pulled down the deflection, one of her game-high nine rebounds. Amanda Grappe was fouled at the other end and hit a free throw to make it 24-9. A layup by Amanda increased Bryant’s lead to 17.
It was 28-11 at the half.
Dreher scored off a nice feed from Amie Hubbard to start the second half. A steal by Allison Grappe led to a layup by McPeak and it was 32-11.
After a Mount St. Mary’s timeout, Vicki Flynn hit a pair of free throws for the Belles only to have McPeak and Amanda Grappe follow with consecutive hoops giving Bryant its largest lead of the game, 34-13.
Behind Meagan Uekman, the Belles managed to cut the lead back to 17 in the final minute of the third period. But Dreher beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to make it 42-22 going into the fourth quarter.
Bryant led 46-29 going into the final five minutes of the game. Amanda Grappe hit a layup then, after a Mount miss, posted up for a bucket to make it 50-29 and Bryant head coach Rhonda Hall started going to the bench.
In the closing moments, Jessie Sutton made a steal that led to a free-throw opportunity for Caitlin Cato. Later, Brittany Grant canned a 16-foot jumper to set the final margin.