Bryant wears down NLR
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
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — At one point during the second quarter of the Bryant Lady Hornets’ AAAAA-Central Conference game against the North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats on Tuesday, Jan. 21, the Bryant coaches were urging the team to keep pushing the ball up the court, to keep running.
“They’re worn out. They’re dragging up the floor,” coaches Carla Crowder and Mark Scarlett pointed out, referring to the Lady Wildcats.
Bryant had just snapped a 20-20 tie with a three-point play from senior Jennifer Slack and a fastbreak layup by Kalin Dreher. As it turned out, it was the beginning of the end for North Little Rock. Despite a timeout, they could not recover their legs enough to prevent Bryant from running off an 18-1 streak to end the half.
The Lady Wildcats never quite recovered as Bryant breezed to a 66-36 victory, the 395th of Crowder’s career at Bryant. It improved the Lady Hornets to 15-2 overall and 4-0 in league play heading into a crucial stretch in which they play three contending teams in succession starting with Little Rock Parkview on Friday, Jan. 24. Parkview, Conway and Mount St. Mary’s are all 3-1 in the league after Tuesday’s games in which Conway (against Parkview) and MSM (against Little Rock McClellan) absorbed their first conference setbacks.
Slack, responding positively after being benched to start the game for disciplinary reasons, came through with one of her best games of the season, scoring a game-high 18 points and gathering eight rebounds. Amanda Grappe added 14 points as 11 different Bryant players scored.
Bryant actually trailed as late as the 1:49 mark of the first quarter, 12-11. A driving jumper in the lane by Ashley Grappe with 1:31 to go in the period put the Lady Hornets on top and they never trailed again, though, after leading 15-14 at the end of the first quarter, they were tied at 18 and 20 in the early stages of the second period.
That’s when Slack and Dreher started the tell-tale run. Junior center Yousra Elhagemoussa, matched up most of the night against the Lady Cats’ 6-3 Christen Jones, went to work during the run, getting Jones into foul trouble and hitting 4-of-6 free throws on the way to scoring 8 points in the game.
Slack hit a 15-footer off the break to make it 32-20 with 4:03 left in the half. Ashley Grappe made a steal and Slack was fouled after she was fed nicely inside by Dreher.
Free throws by Slack and Elhagemoussa extended the margin to 14.
North Little Rock’s Toya Jacob hit a free throw to interrupt the blitz but, before the half was over Amie Hubbard came off the bench to score 4 points to complete the run.
North Little Rock was within 15 with 5:13 left in the third quarter when Rachel Blakley knocked down a 3-pointer. The Lady Wildcats were never that close again.
Bryant closed the third quarter with a 10-1 skein with baskets by Amanda Grappe, Jeanne Randall and Elhagemoussa and free throws from Slack and Elhagemoussa.
A push by the Bryant reserves in the fourth quarter built the lead up to 30 which instituted the ‘mercy’ rule in which the clock runs without interruption except for an injury or a timeout.
The Lady Hornets led 58-35 when Starr Crow hit a baseline jumper. Haley Stobaugh followed with a steal that got her to the free throw line. She was unable to convert but Crow scrambled after the rebound and fed Allison Grappe for a layup and a 62-35 lead.
Elizabeth Farish made a steal but the Lady Hornets couldn’t take advantage. North Little Rock was hit with a technical foul, however, when a player not properly entered in the scorebook entered the lineup. Allison Grappe hit one of the technical free throws and, on the subsequent possession came through with a three-point play that made it 66-35 and set the clock to running for the last three minutes.