Defense lifts Lady Saints
Monday, 31 January 2011 13:08
By EARL WATT
Every possession counted Saturday night in the Greenhouse, including a key three-point play by Ashlynn Knoll with 19.2 seconds to play that sent Seward and Butler to overtime. The Lady Saints dominated the extra period in a 55-47 win over first-place Butler in front of a near capacity crowd at the Greenhouse.
The Lady Saints were on their way to a second straight collapse after letting a nine-point lead with 8:54 to play turn into a four-point Butler lead in less than four minutes.
Butler’s Tierra Andrews led the charge in a 13-0 Lady Grizzly run before Knoll hit a mid-range jumper with 3:22 to play to cut the Butler lead to 41-39.
Seward’s defense only gave up one Butler basket in the final 5:08 of the game, and after a Hannah Rotolo free throw and another key defensive stop with less than a minute to play in regulation, Knoll drove to the basket and scooped the ball up to the glass. She was fouled as the ball passed through the net, and after Knoll hit the free throw, Seward tied the game, 43-43.
Butler had a chance for a final shot, but a wild three-point attempt missed its mark.
Mariah Lee connected on two free throws early in overtime, and the Lady Saints never trailed again.
Butler had a chance to tie the game and to keep it close, but the Lady Grizzlies missed the front end of two one-and-one opportunities and after a three-point basket from Autumn Miller, the Lady Saints had a 50-45 lead.
The Lady Saints defense continued to stifle the Lady Grizzlies. Seward forced 24 turnovers in the game and only allowed four points in overtime.
Morgan Skomal added the final two free throws with 18.4 seconds remaining for the 55-47 Lady Saints win.
The Lady Saints shut down Butler scoring threat Abby Fawcett. At one point late in the game, Miller was attached to Fawcett, trailing her around the court and staring at her the entire time.
After averaging 18 points in Jayhawk West games, Fawcett scored two points against Seward.
Butler didn’t need Fawcett early. The Lady Grizzlies jumped out to an 18-9 lead with 7:33 to play in the first half.
But Lee finished the half with a fury, leading a Lady Saint rally by scoring 10 of Seward’s next 12 points to cut Butler’s lead to 22-20 at half.
Skomal opened the second half with two three-pointers for Seward, and the Lady Saints continued to build a 37-28 lead before Butler went on a 13-0 run.
Seward’s defense took over from there, and the Lady Saints rallied a second time to force overtime.
Lee led the Lady Saints with 17 points, and Knoll and Skomal each had 10. No Lady Grizzly scored in double digits.
The win sets up another key Jayhawk West match-up Wednesday between Seward (17-6, 5-3 and Hutchinson (20-2, 7-1). A win would put the Lady Saints one game behind the conference-leading Lady Blue Dragons who took sole possession of first after Butler’s loss to the Lady Saints. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Greenhouse.