Lady Hornets dismiss Lady Panthers to improve to 10-0
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).
Photos by Rick Nation and Kevin Nagle
BENTON — The Bryant Lady Hornets rushed out to a 7-0 lead and never trailed on the way to their[more] 10th win in as many games this season, a 57-41 thumping of the Benton Lady Panthers at Benton Arena on Friday night.
Earlier this season, the Lady Hornets had survived 49-43 at home against the Lady Panthers so head coach Blake Condley assessed, “I told the girls we wanted to kind of use this as a measuring stick as far as where we’ve come from a month ago and I felt like our execution of things was much better tonight, defensively and offensively. Now it wasn’t perfect. We still have things we want to fix but, the last time we played Benton, there were adjustments we needed to make during the course of the game that we didn’t make. Tonight, we made those adjustments. The girls responded and did what they needed to.”
As an example of the improvement, the coach pointed to his team limiting Benton’s Madi Brooks to 9 points (still a team-high) after she scored 21 in the previous meeting. He credited, particularly, junior post player Breanna Blundell.
“When we played them the first time, we were getting beat on some shot-fakes and drives,” he recounted. “And the girls weren’t hitting shots from the outside but they were getting by us. Now, there were still a few times that we gave up some drives to the basket tonight but, for the most part, we stayed down, we kept them off the free-throw line and we made them make tough shots. That was our goal. We just wanted to make sure they had to shoot with a hand in their face, not a free throw, not a wide-open layup. I felt we did a good job of that.”
The early salvo was sparked by Bryant’s extended defense. Kiara Moore, who matched teammate McKenzie Adams for a team-high 17 points, hit a jumper in the lane to break the ice. Off a Benton turnover, she drove for another basket. After a miss by the Lady Panthers, Adams was fouled. She hit one free throw to make it 5-0. A 15-foot jumper by Moore made it 7-0 at the 5:50 mark of the first quarter.
Benton took a timeout.
“That’s what’s going to feed our offense,” Condley commented regarding his team’s defense. “I told the girls, every night, it’s the intensity and the effort that comes on the defensive side, that’s what can be there every night. Maybe you’re not shooting as well as you do most nights, maybe you’re not executing your offense like you want to but your effort and intensity on defense has to be there every night. If we play well on the defensive end, it carries over to the offensive end.”
Brooke Million got the Lady Panthers on the board at the 4:45 mark. Later, Akane Forbess added a basket to cut the lead to 7-4.
Blundell got the Lady Hornets back on track with an offensive-rebound basket and Adams followed with a steal. She wound up at the free-throw line where she converted twice to make it 11-4.
In the final minute, London Abernathy and Forbess traded 3’s then Blundell hit a free throw to make it 14-7 going into the second period.
The Lady Panthers put together a run that had them within 16-13 with 1:12 left in the half but a three-point play on a drive by Moore extended the margin. Moore followed with a steal and a layup that made it 21-13.
After that, Benton’s Rose McGuire traded free throws with Adams as the half ended with Bryant on top 23-15.
The Lady Hornets had their first double-digit lead when Abernathy opened the third quarter with a trey. Brooks scored inside but Blundell stepped out and canned a triple to extend the margin to 29-15.
Benton was back within 36-24 with 2:25 left in the quarter before Adams corded a 3 and Logan Davis made a steal and converted two free throws. Moore followed up with another theft, driving for a layup.
In the final minute, Abbi Stearns rejected a shot by McGuire, one of six blocked in the game by the Bryant senior. In turn, Davis drove for a layup to make it 45-24 going into the final stanza.
Free throws by Brooks and Bailey Gately along with a basket by Forbess had the lead whittled to 45-29. Benton had a chance to extend the lead further after a Bryant miss but, they returned the favor. Moore took advantage of the miscue with a drive to the rack. McGuire answered but free throws by Adams and Moore built the lead back up to 51-31 with 4:00 to play.
Condley began subbing at that point and Benton took advantage by whittling the lead down to 14. Brittney Ball hit two free throws and, after Gately got a stickback, Benton took a timeout with 1:42, trailing 53-39. When play resumed, the Lady Hornets worked the ball until Davis found Rochelle Aguilar for a layup and a 16-point advantage inside the final minute.
Free throws by Carly Choate and Ball in the last 30 seconds set the final score.
Bryant, winners of two tournaments already this season, will got for another beginning Tuesday, Dec. 28, against Hot Springs in the annual Summit Bank Spa City Shootout.
In the meantime, Condley said, “Monday’s a regular day for the girls then Tuesday and Wednesday are semester tests so we’ll go kind of light, a lot of shooting, a lot of individual work. I won’t keep the kids there that long so they can focus on their tests. We’ll take three days off (for Christmas) then we’ll come back and get a day of practice in before we play Hot Springs on that Tuesday.”
LADY HORNETS 57, LADY PANTHERS 41
Score by quarters
BRYANT 14 9 21 12 — 57
Benton 7 8 9 17 — 41
LADY HORNETS 57
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Moore 7-8 3-5 0-4 4 2 17
Adams 3-8 10-12 2-0 2 4 17
Abernathy 3-9 0-0 1-2 3 4 7
Stearns 1-3 0-1 2-6 8 2 2
Blundell 2-5 0-5 3-1 4 2 5
Davidson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Davis 1-6 2-2 1-2 3 1 4
Hogancamp 0-3 0-0 0-1 1 1 0
Meyer 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Buck 0-0 0-0 0-2 2 3 0
Ball 1-1 3-3 0-0 0 0 5
Aguilar 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 2 2
Murphy 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Scarlett 0-0 0-0 0-2 2 0 0
Choate 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 0 1
Team 1-2 3
Totals 19-45 19-30 11-22 33 23 57
LADY PANTHERS 41
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Million 2-5 2-2 0-1 1 4 7
Parker 1-3 1-2 0-3 3 2 3
Forbess 4-9 0-0 0-1 1 3 9
McGuire 2-8 4-6 1-4 5 5 8
Brooks 1-4 7-12 1-6 7 5 9
Simmons 0-2 0-0 0-2 2 2 0
Gately 2-4 1-3 4-4 8 0 5
Wilson 0-2 0-2 2-0 2 0 0
Bryant 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Team 1-0 1
Totals 12-37 15-27 9-21 30 21 41
Three-point field goals: Bryant 3-13 (Abernathy 1-5, Adams 1-3, Blundell 1-1, Davis 0-3, Moore 0-1), Benton 2-10 (Forbess 1-4, Million 1-3, Simmons 0-2, McGuire 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 12, Benton 19.