Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SPORTS >> Bryant gives Cabot ladies little trouble

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Lady Panthers have impressed all season long, and Friday night’s game against Bryant was no different as the Lady Panthers dominated the Lady Hornets 68-34 at Panther Arena.

From tip off, it was clear who the superior team was on the floor as Cabot scored early and often, while forcing turnovers on defense. Cabot’s full court press was ferocious as Bryant had a hard time matching the Lady Panthers physical style of play, and just getting the ball to half court on offense.

“We’ve played like that all year,” said Cabot coach Carla Crowder about the team’s aggressive play on both ends of the court. “We have a lot of different leading scorers, and that’s what we like about this team. They all play really hard and play well together.”

Cabot scored basket after basket early, and by the end of the first quarter the Lady Panthers led 20-5. The second quarter was more competitive as Cabot narrowly outscored Bryant 10-9 in the quarter to take a 30-14 lead at the break.

The majority of Bryant’s second quarter points came at the free-throw line as Cabot’s physical play on defense led to quick fouls. About two minutes into the second quarter, Cabot was already in the bonus as Bryant had several one-and-one opportunities at the foul line.

“We didn’t want to get in foul trouble and put them on the line, but we did,” Crowder said. “This is the first game this year that’s happened. We don’t like to do that.”

Cabot played its best offensively in the third quarter as the Lady Panthers racked up 24 points in the quarter, primarily through University of Arkansas signee Melissa Wolff and junior post player Elliot Taylor.

Wolff scored the majority of her game-high 16 points in the first half. In the second half Wolff played more of a facilitator role as she drew defenders and made the right pass to the open player that often led to easy baskets. Taylor scored 10 points, all in the second half.

At the 5:41 mark in the fourth quarter, Cabot put the mercy rule in effect, leading 59-29. The majority of the Cabot starters sat the rest of the game, but the Lady Panthers didn’t skip a beat as the role players approached the court with the same aggressiveness on both ends.

Junior guard Logan Beasley helped Cabot double Bryant’s point total with two free throws at the end of the game to set the final score. The Lady Panthers (22-5, 11-1) out-rebounded the Lady Hornets (14-12, 6-6) 25-13 for the game, and finished with 12 turnovers compared to Bryant’s 21.

Cabot was also better at the free throw line and the perimeter as the Lady Panthers shot 64 percent at the line, and 44 percent from beyond the arc. Bryant shot 44 percent at the line and 27 percent at the perimeter.

Wolff and Taylor were the leading scorers for Cabot, but seniors Sydney Wacker and Micah Odom were deep contributors as well. Wacker finished with eight points and four rebounds, while Odom finished with seven points, four steals, and three assists. Logan Davis was the only Bryant player to finish in double figures. She had 11 points.