Lady Hornets dash past Lady Badgers
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
It’s quickly becoming apparent that anyone challenging the Bryant Lady Hornets this season better hold onto their hats early or they’ll get the doors blown off.
It happened to a pretty good Cabot team in the season opener. Bryant scored 25 points in the first quarter. Cabot wasn’t sharp, scoring only 8 and was never really in the game.
On Friday in their home opener, the Lady Hornets erupted for 22 in the opening stanza. The Arkadelphia Lady Badgers almost disappeared but managed to stay within hailing distance, trailing only 22-14 going into the second quarter, and stubbornly hung around throughout the game.
In the end, however, it was the Lady Hornets’ defense that put the Lady Badgers away. Arkadelphia was held without a field goal for the final 4:47 as Bryant turned a tenuous 57-50 lead into a 66-52 romp to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Four of the Lady Hornets’ five starters scored in double figures led by Bekka Middleton’s 17 and Ashley Wallis’ 16. The fifth Bryant starter Joany Robideaux wound up with 9 as the starters provided all the scoring.
Arkadelphia used its size to stay in the game, out-rebounding the Lady Hornets 31-25. Stephanie Evans led the Lady Badgers in scoring with 14 points. She was also one of three players with 6 rebounds. Ashley Anthony added 12 points.
Middleton led all rebounders with 7.
Arkadelphia actually never led in the game and was never even after Bryant forward Heather Atkins snapped a 4-4 tie with an eight-foot jumper off a feed from Wallis with 5:55 left in the first quarter. Senior forward Emily Hantz followed up with a three-point play inside to give Bryant a 9-4 edge. Baskets by Middleton and Robideaux completed a 9-0 run.
The Lady Hornets had their first double-digit lead later in the quarter when Hantz scored inside then Wallis added a free throw to make it 18-8 with 2:09 left in the period.
Middleton scored 14 of her points in the first half. She and Atkins each scored 6 in the second quarter to help the Lady Hornets maintain the lead. Arkadelphia managed to get within 32-27 before Middleton scored inside, Wallis hit a free throw (after Arkadelphia head coach Lynn Rook was whistled for a technical foul) then Robideaux canned one from the corner to make it 37-27.
It was 38-30 at the half.
With Wallis scoring 8 of her points including a 3-pointer in the third quarter, the Lady Hornets surged to their largest lead. Wallis’ three-point play with :26.9 left in the period made it 55-39.
As a team, the Lady Hornets converted 6-of-7 shots in the period and 4-of-5 at the line.
Arkadelphia, however, battled back. Two free throws by Anthony and a stickback by Evans in the final :25 of the quarter started an 11-2 streak that brought the Lady Badgers within the 57-50 margin that wound up being as close as they’d get.
Middleton, Wallis and Robideaux all hit free throws in the final two minutes to help the Lady Hornets pull away.
This week, the Bryant girls take their annual trek to Crockett, Texas, for the 38-team Lovelady Thanksgiving Tournament. The Lady Hornets open tourney play Thanksgiving morning at 11 against another Arkansas team, Drew Central out of Monticello. After that, they’ll play twice Friday with the potential for playing twice more on Saturday. Their first game Friday will be against either Dallas Carter or East Chambers, Texas.