Lady Hornets earn vital win
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
EL DORADO — Over the years, few of the Bryant Lady Hornets’ games against the El Dorado Lady Wildcats have carried much importance. Usually, you could count on a cakewalk by a Bryant team near or at the top of the AAAAA-South Conference standings against an El Dorado at or near the bottom.
But Tuesday, the Lady Hornets, with three losses in their last four games, faced an improved El Dorado team that had pulled into a tie with Bryant for fourth place.
The slumping Lady Hornets suddenly were in danger of dropping into the second division of the conference.
But, even though the game was uncharacteristically significant, it wound up resembling every other Bryant-El Dorado game over the last several seasons as the Lady Hornets cruised to a 61-42 victory.
The win improved the Lady Hornets to 5-4 in the conference, 14-9 overall going into home games Thursday against Benton and Friday against Texarkana. El Dorado dropped to 4-5 and 12-9.
Bekka Middleton scored 16 points, Joanie Robideaux 12 and Bree Mann 11 to lead Bryant.
Defense proved a key for the Lady Hornets, who had earlier in the season taken advantage of El Dorado’s struggles with ballhandling under pressure for a 62-41 win in Bryant. With 6-2 Falundrus Sims and 6-0 Sarah Sullivan, the Lady Wildcats wanted to get the ball into the post and that duo combined for 33 of the team’s 42 points. But the Lady Hornets’ defensive work on the perimeter players, especially early in the game, made it difficult for Sims and Sullivan to get their hands on the ball.
The Lady Hornets opened the game with a 13-2 run and never trailed in the game. That opening spree began with a 12-foot turnaround jumper by Middleton, an El Dorado turnover, and a high-arching shot from Tiffany Kennedy that made it 4-0.
Sims managed El Dorado’s first bucket with 7:16 left in the first quarter then the Lady Wildcats were unable to score again until Sims hit a jump hook with 1:05 left in the period.
In the interim, Candice Croy fed Middleton for a layup, Middleton drained a baseline jumper and Meagan Clancy grabbed an offensive rebound and turned it into a three-point play.
The Lady Hornets led 17-6 at the end of the period.
El Dorado trimmed the lead to 7 early in the second quarter but Kennedy canned a baseline jay and Croy nailed a 3 to get Bryant going again. Mann stepped out to score on a 12-footer and Robideaux converted a free throw to make it 27-12.
After Sullivan hit a pair at the line, Robideaux flushed a 3. Mann added a free throw then Shannon Amos scored off the offensive glass as she was fouled. Though she missed her free throw, Mann grabbed the carom and hit a follow shot to extend the margin to 35-14.
Bryant’s lead was 38-18 at the half and the Lady Wildcats appeared to be resigned to defeat. They were unable to get any closer than 16 points in the second half.
The Lady Hornets led 48-31 going into the fourth quarter. Middleton opened the final period with a coast-to-coast drive that she finished off with a nice spin move for an open jumper in the lane. After an El Dorado turnover, Clancy buried an 18-footer and the Bryant lead was 52-31, the largest margin which they matched late in the quarter, 61-40, before free throws by Sims set the final score.