Lady Hornets deliver down the stretch
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
For almost a half, the El Dorado Wildcats had the mistaken idea that they might be able to compete with the Bryant Lady Hornets Tuesday evening. After all, they’d been tied at 15 and 17 in the second quarter and, when Sarah Sullivan hit a jumper in the lane with 3:32 left in the half, they only trailed 21-19.
And the Lady Wildcats had two chances to tie the game. One was spoiled by a steal by Tiffany Kennedy, the other by an unforced turnover.
Bryant’s Ashley Wallis then lit a fire with two free throws at the 2:30 mark. That began a 12-2 blitz to end the first half — a run the Lady Hornets extended with a 10-0 run to start the third quarter.
Bryant left El Dorado in its wake on the way to its 20th victory of the season, 58-44.
At 20-4 overall, the Lady Hornets continue to dog league-leader Pine Bluff. The Fillies remained unbeaten in the AAAAA-South Conference with a win over Texarkana Tuesday, improving to 10-0 to Bryant’s 9-1 in league play. A Bryant win over Texarkana and a Pine Bluff win over Sheridan this Friday will set up a chance for the Lady Hornets to grab a share of the conference lead when the two teams meet on Tuesday, Feb. 16, in Bryant.
The Lady Hornets actually trailed El Dorado briefly in the opening quarter. Bryant led 10-6 before a layup by LaToya Frazier was followed by a 3-pointer by LeAnn Stegall with 2:10 left in the period.
But it didn’t stay 11-10 long. An offensive rebound basket by Emily Hantz (8 points, 10 rebounds) put Bryant back on top. Wallis’ steal and resulting free throws made it a 14-11 Bryant lead.
But the Lady ‘Cats managed to forge a 15-15 deadlock going into the second quarter.
Bryant’s half-ending run gained its momentum after Wallis hit two more free throws with 2:06 left. Kennedy blocked a shot but couldn’t hang onto the ricochet and turned the ball back over to El Dorado. But Sarah Sullivan, a sophomore who led all scorers with 16 points, misfired and Kennedy dropped in a high-arching jumper from right on the 3-point arc.
Another El Dorado turnover followed and Bekka Middleton, who led the Lady Hornets with 12 points, drove for a layup to make it 29-19.
Sullivan answered with :52 left in the half only to have Candice Croy swish a baseline jumper and, right at the buzzer, Shannon Amos got a stickback to go, giving Bryant a 33-21 halftime advantage.
Hantz started the second half with a steal that led to a trip to the free-throw line where she converted once. The Lady Hornets forced another turnover and Kim Jacuzzi wound up at the stripe. She too hit one of her shots there.
After a pair of El Dorado misses, Jacuzzi canned a jump hook to make it 37-21. The onslaught continued when Hantz hit the offensive boards for a bucket and Heather Atkins drained back-to-back jumpers. Bryant led 43-21.
The margin remained at least 15 points after that until the final minute. Bryant’s largest lead came halfway through the fourth quarter when Kennedy made a steal and missed a layup only to have Wallis there for a stickback at the 4:52 mark. After an El Dorado miss, Kennedy scored off a drive with 4:08 showing, giving Bryant a 57-34 bulge.