Women’s Basketball Opens Season With 95-71 Routing Of Fisk
DAYTON, Tenn. – In the first action of their 2017-18 campaign, the Bryan College Women’s Basketball team impressed the home crowd Monday night with a dominant offensive display, nearly reaching the century mark as they cruised past the Bulldogs of Fisk University (Tenn.) 95-71 to seal the season-opening victory. The Lions set the tone early as they clawed their way to a 28-13 lead through the first quarter, before the Bulldogs had their only positive quarter in period number two narrowly edging past Bryan 24-22. Fisk trailed at the half 50-37, and that would be the closest they would come to Bryan as the Lions would go on to outscore the Bulldogs 18-16 in the third quarter and 27-18 in the last period. Bryan improves to 1-0, while Fisk falls to 0-1.
The Lions, who have earned a reputation as a notable three-point shooting team, took no time to connect from behind the arc when Tonesha Allison fed Karli Combs who sank one of her two made three’s in the game on the first possession. Bryan built their advantage to 14-9 with 3:49 left in the opening quarter and continued with a made bucket from in the paint by LeAnn Scharberg, free throw by Allison, and another inside shot by Scharberg for a double-figure lead, 19-9. Fisk managed to slim the margin to eight points, but Allison made 2-of-2 at the foul line to help spark a rally. Amber Levi came through with a steal and hit Tristan McClellan who capitalized from downtown. In the final seconds, Shayla Ludy was able to drive to the basket and draw a foul. She went on to make the pair of free throws, providing the Lions with a 28-13 lead heading into the second quarter. Foul shots certainly helped Bryan in the first period as they completed 9-of-10, while Fisk was without a trip to the foul line. Another area that the Lions controlled was the boards, outrebounding the Bulldogs 11-4, including five offensive rebounds.
Made field goals by Emmy Allen, Combs, Love, and Allison helped Bryan to an 8-0 run and their first 20-point advantage of the contest with 6:13 on the clock in the second quarter, 40-17. The Bulldogs hoped to slow the momentum with a successful trey, but Sarah Cain responded with a made three-pointer on the next play for the Lions. Over the next two minutes of play, Fisk was able to connect for a trio of consecutive three’s and cut the gap to 16 points, 47-31, with 2:30 remaining before the half. Levi provided a make from long range, but that wouldn’t keep the Bulldogs from rallying for six unanswered points to draw close at 50-37 at the break. Bryan was unable to see any more looks at the foul line but was relentless on the boards, having outrebounded Fisk 19-8 in the first half.
It looked like the Bulldogs had made a break through when they nailed down a three pointer to drop the deficit to 12 points at 52-40 during the first few minutes of the third quarter, but Combs countered with a three-pointer and was followed by Deandra Luna with a score from inside. At the seven-minute mark, Fisk used a make from deep to bring the score to 57-43, but that would be outperformed by Bryan’s 6-0 run to go back on top by 20 points, 63-43. Over the last four minutes of the third period, the Bulldogs made up five points as they trailed the Lions 68-53 heading into the last quarter.
Fisk came out with new energy at the start of the fourth quarter, but each time they scored, it was the duo of Levi and Luna who tallied made three’s to silence the Bulldogs and send them back to the doghouse. Midway through the period, Luna assisted Ludy who drained a trey that gave Bryan a 20-point advantage that wouldn’t be surrendered for the duration of the game. The Lions turned their 83-63 lead into their largest lead of the game at 89-63, before holding on for a 95-71 win.
For the game, Bryan outshot Fisk 52.9 percent compared to their 46.4 percent. The Lions attempted 28 looks from the outside and made 10, but the Bulldogs were more efficient with nine made of their 20 attempted. Fisk was 10-of-14 at the foul line, while Bryan ended 13-of-17. The Lions owned the offensive rebounds with 16 and allowed the Bulldogs only seven. As a team, Bryan compiled 39 rebounds and Fisk totaled 22. The Lions kept the turnovers to a minimum with 11 but forced the Bulldogs into 21 turnovers. On offense, it was Amber Levi who stood out with a team-high 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 3-of-6 from three land, and a perfect 4-of-4 on her free throws. Luna flirted with a double-double performance, ending with 14 points, team-best nine assists, and four rebounds. She was 6-of-12 from the floor. Love matched Luna’s 14 points, finishing efficiently with 7-of-8. The only other Lion to see double-digits was Ludy, registering 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting and a solid 4-of-4 showing at the foul line. Combs and Scharberg aided with eight points, respectively, while Scharberg also grabbed four rebounds. McClellan dished out three assists and chipped in five points, Cain put up three points and two rebounds, Allen had two points, and both Destyne Middlebrooks and Marlee Sells closed out their brief play with one point apiece.
With a game now under their belt, the Lions can gauge their strengths and weaknesses and make any necessary adjustments before a tough stretch of road games that lie ahead. Bryan had both experienced players and new faces put on a very promising display. “It was good to play somebody other than ourselves and get a game on film,” explained Bryan Head Coach, Jason Smith. “Amber, Tonesha, and Keneisha gave us some solid production from our returners. Deandra showed us tonight that she could be really special. LeAnn and Shayla gave us great minutes off the bench as well. I’m excited to get back to work in the things we need to fix.”
Up next for the Lions, the first of their four away games is at Lee University (Tenn.) on Saturday, Nov. 4 with tipoff slated for 12pm in the exhibition with the Flames.