Lady Hornets alone in 1st
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
Alone atop the league — that’s where the Bryant Lady Hornets found themselves on Wednesday morning after their 54-35 victory over Texarkana and Sheridan’s 49-41 win over Pine Bluff on Tuesday night.
The Lady Hornets improved to 4-0 in the league, the last unbeaten team, 11-3 overall with a visit to Pine Bluff due on Friday, Jan. 19. Pine Bluff’s Fillies dropped to 3-1 in league play with the loss to Sheridan, also 3-1.
Bryant accounted for Sheridan’s lone loss. It was a road win for the Lady Hornets who could take a big step toward a championship with a win at Pine Bluff. It would mean that Bryant had beaten all of the top contenders — including El Dorado — on the road in the first trip through the double round-robin schedule. They’ll have all three coming to Bryant on the second go-round.
Aching feet kept seniors Candice Croy and Kim Jacuzzi out of the Bryant starting lineup Tuesday. Jacuzzi didn’t play much but got strong support from sophomore Amber Stephenson. And the Lady Hornets employed a three-guard offense with forwards Bree Mann and Jennifer Slack that proved to be effective.
Croy, who missed about a month of play with a stress fracture, came on to light a fire for the Lady Hornets who began the game a bit sluggishly against the Texarkana team that came in with an 8-5 overall mark but was 0-2 in conference play.
Croy wound up knocking down four 3-pointers and another hoop that just missed being a trey, finishing with 14 points off the bench. Mann, with an extremely active game on both ends of the court and on the boards, wound up with a game-high 16 points. Slack added 13, Joanie Robideaux 6, Stephenson 4 and defensive whiz Rachel Blakley 1.
It has been defense that has sparked the Lady Hornets’ surge in conference play. But the intensity and aggressiveness wasn’t quite up to recent standards to start the game and Texarkana actually held the upper hand. Behind stout center Shan Collins, the Lady Razorbacks led 13-12 at the end of the first period and, eventually, 17-12 early in the second quarter. Collins had 9 of her team-high 11 points during that time.
But Croy came off the bench and drilled her first 3-pointer to help spark the Lady Hornets. The defense intensified and forced a Texarkana turnover that Mann turned into points by crashing the offensive boards. That tied the game at 17.
A free throw by Stephanie Jones and a basket by Kayla McDole lifted the Lady Razorbacks back up to a 20-17 edge. But Mann hit the glass again for a stickback and, after another Texarkana turnover, hit an eight-foot bankshot that gave Bryant a 21-20 lead with 3:12 left in the half.
The Lady Hornets never trailed again.
By halftime, Bryant led 29-22.
Mann started the second half with a short jumper then Collins got her final 2 points at the free throw line. Those and two free throws by McDole later in the quarter were the only points Texarkana was able to muster until the final three minutes of the game when Bryant head coach Carla Crowder began to empty her bench.
It was a 21-4 run for the Lady Hornets that was sparked by Robideaux and Croy draining back-to-back 3-pointers after Collins’ free throws. Croy added another trey with about a minute left in the quarter giving Bryant a 41-26 advantage going into the final eight minutes.
Slack scored inside off a nice feed from sophomore Lindsey Stone and, after a Texarkana turnover, Croy buried another triple to bump the lead up to 20 with 5:54 left in the game.
A driving layup by Mann and Croy’s jumper with a toe on the 3-point line gave the Lady Hornets their largest lead at 50-26 with 4:58 left.