Ladies Stand Ground in 74-57 UNC Asheville Win
The Lady Wildcats put together a nearly perfect first half, opening with a 9-1 scoring run into the first timeout. Early free throws kept the UNCA hanging in there, but it was nearly 10 minutes into the game before B-CU allowed a Bulldogs field goal. By the midpoint of the half, B-CU had built a 19-7 lead and showed no signs of slowing.
"We did a great job of starting the game ahead and taking care of the easy shots we were given," Head Coach Vanessa Blair said. "I thought it was a very good team win."
As in the aggressive-minded approach that allowed B-CU to pull away from Edward Waters, the Lady Wildcats began to pressure, creating a 14-2 run to close the half, fueled by a multi-point attack that rendered defensive changes helpless. Leading 40-16 at the half, the Lady Wildcats held the largest halftime lead and allowed the lowest first half opponent output of the year, aided by just three turnovers in the first period.
In the second half, UNCA began to warm up a little after shooting just 23.8 percent in the first, led by sophomore Shonese Jones, who hit 3-of-9 in the second, including a pair of momentum-building threes. Using long range shooting, with five perimeter hits in the second half, UNCA cut into the B-CU lead, drawing it to as few as 13 with just under three minutes to go.
"It's hard for a young team to not look at the score when you go in at halftime up 40-16," Blair said. "I think what you get is just human nature, they take a couple of plays off here and there because of the cushion that they have. We've got to work on being able to close out and play two halves the same way."
However, the Lady Wildcats played to their potential, showing composure in the rally attempt, with Terrenisha Hollis and Sharnese Neal hitting crucial free throws in the final two minutes to seal the game in a 74-57 win.
"It was refreshing to see them pull together, knock down their free throws at the end of the game and finish the game with a significant advantage," Blair commented.
B-CU's 17-point win featured the efforts of eight different scorers in dispatching the Bulldogs.
Co-leading the group with Chastity René Taylor, Hollis chipped in a career-high 15 points, shot 78 percent from the floor and hit a career-best 7-of-9 free throws, helping to distribute the ball with a another career-high four assists. Taylor hit 6-of-11, including three big long range scores. Kayla Crawford also notched career highs in points (14) and steals (4), along with eight boards on the day. Rounding out the four Lady Wildcats notching double digits, Amanda Hairston shot 56 percent from the floor for 12 points of her own.
"The girls did a fantastic job of seeing the next pass," Blair noted. "They shared the ball. All of them contributed and stepped up and just relieved a lot of the pressure that Amanda [Hairston] was seeing."
The Lady Wildcats surrendered just eight turnovers in the win, a feat not matched since before the 2002-03 season, while also hitting 13-of-15 from the charity stripe; the best free throw shooting in 16 games for B-CU.
The Lady Wildcats return to action at the Hatter Classic on Wednesday, facing Georgia Southern (1-6), who befell a 41-point loss to host Stetson in early action today at the Edmunds Center.
"They're a big team, and their very athletic," Blair noted of GSU. "We've got to come to play just as hard and aggressive as we did tonight."Player Quotes:
Kayla Crawford on frontcourt aggressiveness inside
"They didn't really have any shot blockers so that really opened the door for all the post players to score."
Terrenisha Hollis on team offense in the win
"We did a good job offensively. We were patient on offense and weren't rushing anything. I'm very proud of my team."
Chastity René Taylor on team improvements in turnovers
"We try to come down making sure we're making the right pass instead of trying to just get rid of the ball."
For all the latest information on the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, follow the official Twitter feed, @BCUathletics, or "Like Us" on Facebook at Bethune-Cookman Athletics.