Lady Hornets’ defense stymies Mount St. Mary

The Lady Hornets huddle around head coach Brad Matthews during a timeout on Tuesday night. (Photo by Rick Nation)

For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here

Though the Bryant Lady Hornets forced the Mount St. Mary Academy Belles into 22 turnovers in the first half, their lead was just 25-15; good enough but not what head coach Brad Matthews might’ve hoped for.

McKenzie Muse (35) led the Lady Hornets with 15 points. (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Lady Hornets shot the ball better in the second half and forced 10 more turnovers to extract a 51-38 win over the Belles at the Hornets’ Nest on Tuesday night.

The win snapped a three-game skid for Bryant, improving the Lady Hornets’ record to 13-7 overall and 4-5 in the 6A-Central Conference going into a trip to Little Rock Central on Friday.

“It was a good win,” Matthews stated. ““We’ve just got to continue to make more shots. But I thought our execution in the half court against their zone was pretty good. 

“We’ve been working on it, but we have a lot of good possessions that don’t get points,” he acknowledged. “That’s what we’ve really got to clean up as we go throughout the rest of the conference season. We have really good possessions, but we’ve got to finish. We’ve got to get points. We’ll go back to work tomorrow and try to get better.”

McKenzie Muse broke out with a 15-point performance to lead Bryant. Kalia Walker added 10 off the bench. Tierra Trotter scored 8 and Allison Steen 7.

Tierra Trotter drives in for a layup. (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Belles were paced by point guard Anya Ranraja with 13 points. Catherine Althoff finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

One thing the Lady Hornets did finish was their defensive possessions. Not only did they force 32 turnovers and hold Mount to just 28 field-goal attempts, but they held the Belles to just two offensive rebounds. Celena Martin finished with nine boards. Steen had eight.

“I thought our defensive effort was really good,” Matthews related. “(Althoff) is a really good player. She ended up with 10 and I think a lot of that was late when we were up 15 or 20. We did a really good job on her through three quarters. When she’s not scoring, they don’t play in rhythm that well. So, I’m really proud of our kids’ effort defensively.”

Althoff had just 3 points going into the fourth quarter.

The Belles led 4-3 early in the game but when Trotter drove and hit a pull-up jumper, the Lady Hornets were ahead to stay.

That actually started a 9-0 run for Bryant. Trotter took a kick-out feed from Steen and hit a 3. Later, off a steal by Walker, Steen scored inside. Trotter swiped the ball and fed India Atkins for a layup and a 12-4 advantage.

India Atkins (Photo by Rick Nation)

Ranraja hit a 3 in the final minute to make it 12-7 going into the second quarter.

And when Althoff scored the first bucket of the new stanza, the lead was just 3. Again, however, the Lady Hornets surged. Again, it was a 9-0 push that started with a 3 from Muse off an assist from Walker.

Martin followed her own miss to score then Atkins hit a free throw. Muse rebounded her missed second shot and got it to Walker who drained a 3 to make it 21-9.

Another triple by Ranraja broke a four-minute dry spell for the Belles.

Free throws by Lexie Taylor and Trotter helped create the Lady Hornets’ 10-point halftime spread.

Mount was within 29-21 when the Lady Hornets took off again during the third quarter. A 10-1 run started with a basket by Muse. Walker drilled a 15-footer and Steen scored inside. Muse’s jumper in the lane made it 37-21. After a free throw by Mount’s Millie Allgood, Ivory Russ knocked down two at the line to make it a 17-point advantage.

Allgood scored to make it 39-24 going into the fourth.

Bryant’s largest lead was 19 at 50-31. Free throws by Martin, another basket by Steen was followed by a trip to the line for Steen. She made the first and her second was rebounded by Muse who eventually took a feed from Trotter and drained a 3 to cap the burst.

Friday, the Lady Hornets will try to avenge perhaps their most disappointing loss of the season. On Jan. 11, Central edged Bryant 47-45.

LADY HORNETS 51, BELLES 38

Score by quarters

Mount St. Mary          7          8          9          14 — 38

BRYANT                       12        13        14        12 — 51

BELLES (5-15, 2-7) 38

Ranraja 5-9 0-0 13, A.Allgood 0-0 0-0 0, Tarini 2-6 0-0 6, Wilcox 1-2 0-0 2, Althoff 2-6 6-8 10, M.Allgood 2-3 1-2 5, Meadors 0-0 0-0 0, Obert 1-2 0-2 2, Franks 0-0 0-0 0. Totals:13-28 (46%) 7-12 (58%) 38.

LADY HORNETS (13-7, 4-5) 51

Trotter 3-10 1-4 8, Atkins 1-7 1-2 3, Martin 1-6 3-5 5, Gordon 0-1 0-0 0, Muse 6-10 1-4 15, Russ 0-1 2-2 2, Walker 3-10 3-5 10, Steen 3-4 1-2 7, Taylor 0-1 1-2 1. Totals:17-49 (35%) 13-26 (50%) 51.

Three-point field goals:Bryant 4-19 (Muse 2-4, Trotter 1-6, Walker 1-6, Atkins 0-2, Martin 0-1), Mount St. Mary 5-12 (Ranraja 3-5, Tarini 2-5, Althoff 0-1, Wilcox 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 17, Mount St. Mary 32. Rebounds:Bryant 15-16 31 (Martin 7-2 9, Steen 3-5 8, Atkins 2-1 3, Muse 1-2 3, Trotter 1-1 2, Gordon 0-2 2, Walker 0-2 2, team 1-1 2), Mount St. Mary 2-24 26 (Althoff 0-10 10, Wilcox 0-3 3, M.Allgood 1-2 3, Ranraja 0-1 1, A.Allgood 0-1 1, Obert 0-1 1, team 1-6). Team fouls:Bryant 15, Mount St. Mary 22. Fouled out:Mount St. Mary, Wilcox, M.Allgood.



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