Ailing Robideaux sparks rally past Texarkana, 59-54
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
TEXARKANA — Before the Bryant Lady Hornets took the court at Texarkana High School Tuesday night, Arkansas Sports Medicine trainer John Miller was taking the temperature of junior point guard Joanie Robideaux.
When asked if her teammate was “trying to get sick or something,” Bekka Middleton replied, “She’s refusing to get sick. She can’t get sick.”
Robideaux, who battled through a broken nose earlier this season wearing a face mask for protection in several games, went ahead and played despite not feeling well. In fact, adding to her troubles, she received a bump on the nose along the way, forcing her briefly to the bench.
But it was a good thing she was in the lineup. Robideaux wound up scoring a season-high 15 points including a couple of clutch 3-pointers as the Lady Hornets came from behind to spoil the upset-minded Lady Razorbacks 59-54.
With the victory, Bryant pulled into a second-place tie in the AAAAA-South Conference with Pine Bluff and Little Rock McClellan. All three are 3-1 in league play, trailing only Sheridan at 4-0. The Lady Jackets won at Pine Bluff 37-36 in overtime Tuesday.
The Lady Hornets host Pine Bluff’s Fillies Friday.
Against Texarkana, Middleton continued her impressive play this season with 26 points including a three-point play with :02 left that sealed the victory for the Lady Hornets.
Bryant had taken a 52-51 lead on Robideaux’s second 3-pointer of the game, a pressure-packed shot with 2:58 left to play. Texarkana had a chance to take the lead back but Tiffany Kennedy made a steal, drove within 10 feet of the basket and popped a jumper to make it a three-point lead, the largest of the game for the Lady Hornets to that point.
Kansas Scott, who scored 18 points for Texarkana, cut the lead to one but Middleton’s turnaround jumper with 1:22 left made it 56-53.
With 1:05 left, Lucianna Henry, who led the Lady ‘Backs with 21 points, hit one of two at the line to make it a 2-point margin for Bryant.
With the Lady Hornets struggling to get the ball to halfcourt against the Texarkana press, head coach Carla Crowder called a timeout with :51 left. When play resumed, the Lady Hornets spread their offense and milked the clock as Texarkana scrambled to foul. With only four team fouls to that point, the Lady ‘Backs had to foul three times before they could send the Lady Hornets to the free-throw line.
After the sixth foul, Bryant inbounded and Robideaux actually got loose under the basket. But, wisely, she dribbled back out onto the court and ate up about five seconds. The Lady Razorbacks couldn’t catch up to her until there was just :05 left.
With her team up by 2, Robideaux went to the line and missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Middleton flashed for the offensive rebound, scored and drew a foul to foil Texarkana’s hopes for a last-ditch attempt at a win. With :02 showing, Middleton completed the three-point play to set the final score.
Texarkana came into the game 0-3 in conference play and 4-9 overall, so it was a bit of a surprise that they played the Lady Hornets so tough. But, according to a Texarkana source, no Lady Razorback team has ever beaten a Bryant team, so the fact that the Lady Hornets bring out their best effort is understandable.
Behind the hot shooting of Henry and Scott, the Lady Backs built a 16-8 lead in the first quarter. Middleton started a Bryant rally with a layup then, following a steal by Kennedy, Kim Jacuzzi was fouled on a follow shot. She hit a free throw to make it 16-11. After another Texarkana turnover, Kennedy drove the baseline for a short jumper to cut it to 3.
Texarkana led 18-15 going into the second quarter.
After Middleton scored 10 of Bryant’s 15 points in the first quarter, the Lady Razorbacks started to focus more defense on the Bryant post player. That’s when Robideaux stepped up, scoring 8 straight points for the Lady Hornets including a 3-pointer that cut Texarkana’s lead to 2 and, later, following a steal and drive to the hoop, hitting a free throw that made it 22-21.
But Texarkana refused to surrender the lead. A basket by Scott and two free throws by LaToya McDole bumped the lead back to 5 and the Lady ‘Backs held on for a 28-25 halftime edge.
Bryant got a spark from sophomore forward Bree Mann in the third quarter. The Lady Hornets trailed 31-28 before Mann made a steal and layup and, moments later, grabbed an offensive rebound and scored. Bryant had its first lead of the game with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
It was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way. A three-point play off a steal by Henry snapped a 34-34 tie late in the quarter, but Robideaux cut it to 1 with a jumper in the lane and in the final seconds, Meagan Clancy made a steal for the Lady Hornets. The ball was saved from going out of bounds by Mann who flipped the ball back to Robideaux. She got it back to Clancy at the top of the key and the sophomore nailed a 3 to beat the buzzer. Bryant thus led 39-37 going into the final eight minutes.
Down the stretch the game was tied five times, the last time at 49-49 with 4:11 to go. Texarkana managed its last lead with 3:45 left on a pair of free throws by Shan Collins. The Lady ‘Backs forced a turnover to give themselves a chance to extend that advantage, but Robideaux made a steal that led to her game-turning 3-pointer.