Lady Hornets win 3rd straight
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 — If the Bryant Lady Hornets were not at their best Monday night, the Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits would probably not want to meet them when they were.
The Lady Hornets, behind 28 points from Jennifer Slack and a double-double from Bree Mann, whipped the Lady ‘Rabbits 61-43 in the first round of the Ortho Arkansas Invitational Tournament at Central Arkansas Christian High School.
The Lady Hornets, 3-0, advance to take on Greenbrier, a 53-36 winner over Little Rock Mills on Monday, in the semifinals of the tournament Thursday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Bryant defeated Greenbrier on Nov. 20, 73-41, at home.
Lady Hornets head coach Carla Crowder put her team through a vigorous workout including some work against the Bryant Hornets junior varsity team to knock some of the rust off after three days off for Thanksgiving.
“We practiced really hard,” she noted, “and we may have been a little dead-legged (for Monday’s game). That’s my fault. But we needed the work. It’s kind of a Catch-22. What do you do? You’re off three days then have to jump right back in and play.
“I think we’re getting better,” she noted. “There’s still a lot of things we need to work on. We did a lot of good stuff but I thought we got a little complacent and had too many fouls. I think we just need to work harder and mentally be ready to play.”
The Lady Hornets’ defensive breakdowns centered primarily around trying to stop Lonoke forward Tammie Reddick who scored 23 points, mostly with post-up moves. Crowder used three or four defenders against Reddick.
“I thought Megan Kennedy did a really good job,” Crowder said. “She’s never started before, she’s a sophomore, and I thought she came in and played real good.
“Bree hit the boards really hard and Jennifer did a real good job offensively,” she concluded.
Mann finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Slack was 11-of-14 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line as Lonoke had even more trouble slowing her down than the Lady Hornets had with Reddick.
The game was tight for most of the first half. Bryant scored the first 6 points and though Lonoke got within 6-5, the Lady Jackrabbits never managed to take the lead. A baseline drive and reverse layup by Mann got Bryant going again and the lead grew to 14-7 before Reddick hit a 14-foot jumper in the final minute to cut the margin to 5 going into the second quarter.
And when Reddick added a bucket inside to start the second period the margin was 3.
But Slack drove for a hoop and free throws by Jeanne Randall and Slack bumped the lead back up to 20-11. Bryant led 28-20 at the half.
The lead hit double digits when Randall started the second half with a driving layup and the Lady Hornets gradually built on that. It was 38-27 before Yousra Elhagemoussa fed Slack inside for what wound up being a three-point play. Moments later, Elhagemoussa came through with a three-point play of her own and the lead was 44-27.
It was 46-32 going into the fourth quarter. Reddick’s basket with 6:45 got her team within 12 but after Jamie Stephens fed Slack for a layup and Mann hit two free throws, Lonoke was never as close again.
The Lady Hornets’ largest advantage was 20. It came with :59 left when Slack pulled up for her team’s lone 3-point attempt and drained it to make it 61-41.