Bryant dispatches Greenbrier
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 — Eight days after dispatching the Greenbrier Lady Panthers with ease, 73-41, the Bryant Lady Hornets were confronted with them again in the semifinals of the Ortho Arkansas Invitational Tournament at Central Arkansas Christian High School on Thursday.
And when the Lady Hornets raced out to a 17-1 lead at the outset, there was every reason to believe it would be another rout. But foul trouble and a determined Lady Panthers team prevented another blowout. It wasn’t easy but Bryant prevailed 52-38 to earn a spot in the championship game on Saturday and improve to 4-0 on the season.
Starting center Bree Mann and her substitute sophomore Yousra Elhagemoussa both fouled out of the game. Mann, the soul of the team and its top rebounder, managed 7 points but just two rebounds.
Jennifer Slack took up much of the, er, slack with 16 points and 13 rebounds though she sat out much of the first half with three fouls.
Though they never led, the Lady Panthers never trailed by as much as they did in the first quarter. In fact, early in the final period, they trimmed the margin to 6, 40-34 and, after Slack missed a jumper, had a chance to cut it further. But Tara Hoover misfired and, at the other end, Slack attacked the basket and was fouled. She hit two free throws to make it 42-34.
Alicia Pemberton, who led Greenbrier with 10 points, missed a short jumper and, after a timeout, the Lady Hornets regained their double-digit advantage on a nice drive to the hoop by Jeanne Randall (9 points, 5 rebounds).
Candace Clifton’s miss for Greenbrier was answered by a jumper from the corner by senior Jamie Stephens and Bryant led 46-34. The Lady Panthers needed a timeout but they never whittled the lead under 10 after that as Rachel Blakley, Stephens and Slack hit free throws down the stretch and Jessica Halligan finished things off with an offensive-rebound basket.
The Lady Hornets’ opening salvo was impressive. It started with a nifty inbounds play under their own basket in which Randall fed Haley Stobaugh for a short jumper, then a nice pick-and-roll between Slack and Randall that produced a short jumper for Randall.
Moments later, Stobaugh found herself surrounded in the lane. She pivoted around looking for an open teammate and all three defenders that had trapped her left. So she calmly canned the jumper to make it 6-0.
Hoover managed Greenbrier’s lone point of the quarter with a free throw then the onslaught commenced once more. Mann hit a free throw then Randall drove niftily down the lane for a layup to make it 9-1.
A Greenbrier timeout failed to stem the tide. Mann grabbed the rebound off a missed shot, scored and was fouled to a three-point play to make it 12-1.
Almost two minutes passed then Stephens canned a jumper from the corner and, after a Greenbrier miss, Slack hit a driving jumper and turned it into a three-point play and a 17-1 advantage with :09 left in the period.
With Slack on the bench with three fouls, Greenbrier managed a 9-0 run to start the second quarter and had chances to get closer than 19-10 only to miss the front end of two bonus trips to the free-throw line.
Randall’s layup off a nice feed from Dani Sutton was answered by a baseline jumper from Pemberton and a free throw by Clifton to make it 21-13.
Lindsey Stone hit a 15-footer for Bryant but Greenbrier eventually got the margin down to the 24-17 spread at the half.
Slack, limited to just 3 points in the first half, made her return count at the start of the third quarter with back to back baskets off drives and pull-up jumpers. And when Mann hit a free throw to make it 29-17, the Lady Hornets re-gained the momentum.
The lead grew to as much as 13 before a late surge by Greenbrier, topped by a 3-pointer by Jayla Johnston with :03 left in the quarter, made it 39-30 going into the fourth quarter.