Menard sparks Lady Hornets
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
SHERIDAN — Good basketball teams have to have them. Though they don’t often garner headlines, they are just as important to a team’s success as the stars. They’re called role players and often they specialize in one facet of the game or another.
A deadeye shooter from outside, senior guard Lindsey Menard usually serves as a zone buster off the bench for the Bryant Lady Hornets. And there are some games when she doesn’t play a whole lot.
She may see some spot duty to relieve one of the starters or she may come in late in a runaway and lend a steady hand and some leadership to the youngsters on the reserve squad as they gain some experience.
And, often, when the Lady Hornets are trying to protect a lead late in a game, she’ll be on the floor, to get fouled and to hit free throws.
That’s Menard’s role and that’s the role she played to the hilt Friday when the Lady Hornets improved to 2-0 in the AAAAA-South Conference with a 48-44 victory over defending league champion Sheridan.
Menard hit two free throws with :18 left that proved to be the Lady Hornets’ only points in the final three minutes of the game. Those free throws helped hold off a furious Sheridan rally that whittled Bryant’s 11-point lead with 3:07 to go down to 4 when Menard stepped to the line.
The win improved the Lady Hornets’ overall record to 12-3 entering this Friday’s game at El Dorado. Sheridan, which has been rounding into form lately after a typically slow start, fell to 4-9 overall. It was the Lady Jackets’ conference opener.
Menard finished with 10 points for Bryant, second only to point guard Ashley Wallis’ 12. Sheridan limited Bryant’s top scorer, center Bekka Middleton to just 7 but the rest of the team took up the slack as nine of the 10 that saw action scored.
Sheridan center Crystal Bean led all scorers with 22 points with a game-high 9 rebounds. But the Lady Jackets never led after Bryant erased a 2-0 deficit with a 7-0 run at the start of the game.
That flurry was highlighted by the Bryant defense. Wallis tied the game at 2 with a baseline jumper then the Lady Hornets forced a turnover that eventually led to a trip to the free-throw line for Heather Atkins. Her free throw put the Lady Hornets ahead to stay.
Joanie Robideaux followed with back-to-back steals and baskets to make it 7-2 and force a Sheridan timeout.
Despite the fact that Middleton and Atkins each picked up their second foul midway through the quarter, the Lady Hornets went on to build a 13-5 lead by the end of the quarter. Menard capped things off nicely with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Shannon Amos connected on a pair of free throws to extend the lead early in the second period then Wallis drove for a basket to make it 17-5.
But that was the last field goal in the period for the Lady Hornets. Sheridan intensified its defensive effort, yet the Lady Hornets maintained a steady lead by hitting their free throws.
With just two minutes left, though, Wallis picked up her second foul on a charge call and came to the bench. Sheridan took advantage by scoring 6 unanswered points to finish the half. Bryant’s lead was down to 21-18.
It stayed tight for most of the third quarter. Sheridan trailed just 30-27 with 3:11 left. But Robideaux stepped up and nailed a 3 and, after Sheridan missed three chances to answer, Menard canned a 12-foot jumper to make it 35-27.
After a Lady Jackets’ timeout, Bean got going with back-to-back hoops to cut the margin to 4. Wallis hit a jumper in the lane to stem the tide, however, and Tiffany Kennedy hit a free throw with :01 left to give Bryant a 38-31 edge going into the final eight minutes.
Menard made it a 10-point game by opening the fourth-quarter scoring with a 3. Wallis hit a layup monents later and Bryant had matched its largest lead, 43-31.
The two teams traded points until Middleton hit a free throw with 3:07 left to give Bryant a 46-35 lead.
The two teams traded misses before Bean stuck a baseline jay. Another Bryant miss was rebounded by Sheridan’s Jaki Place, but she missed a front end. Robideaux rebounded but the Lady Jackets forced a held ball and regained possession.
Erin Humphries converted a pair at the line for Sheridan with 1:41 left and Ashley Gartman hit one with 1:00 to go.
The two teams traded possessions on held balls then Sheridan’s Lori Baggett knocked down an 18-foot jumper to make it 46-42 with :26 left.
Menard then came through for the Lady Hornets by converting a one-and-one making Bean’s last-second put-back a formality.