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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Lady ‘Riders thump Labette in home opener, 91-77

  • With a loud and rowdy crowd, and in front of a rather full gymnasium, the Crowder women’s basketball team stormed the court in its home opener at Bob Sneller Gymnasium on Tuesday and cruised to a dominant 91-77 victory over Labette Community College.
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  • With a loud and rowdy crowd, and in front of a rather full gymnasium, the Crowder women’s basketball team stormed the court in its home opener at Bob Sneller Gymnasium on Tuesday and cruised to a dominant 91-77 victory over Labette Community College.
    Aside from the few seconds it took the Lady ‘Riders to walk the floor and score following the opening tip, the game was never so much as tied, as Crowder led from start to finish. The Lady ‘Riders opened on an 8-0 run before a pair of 3-pointers by Brittany Odom made it 8-6. But Crowder quickly began to pull away and extended the lead to 19-8 with 10:52 left in the first half. It wasn’t long before the lead grew to 33-15 and the rout was on.
    Crowder’s size and speed in the transition game gave it the upper hand early in this one. The total number of blocked shots weren’t immediately available after the game, but the Lady ‘Riders had a slew of them. Ariana Gallegos, Mariana Silva and Thays Barbosa all three stood out both offensively and defensively.
    “With our big kids, tonight was the first night they weren’t all in extreme foul trouble,” Crowder coach Tina Robbins said. “We’ve been in serious foul trouble with our big kids in the first two games, and tonight was the first time we got a full chance to see what they’re capable of doing.”
    Gallegos, however, had the best night of anyone as the 6’1 freshman from Kyle, Texas, worked over the Lady Cardinals for a game-high 23 points, including 15 in the second half. Barbosa and Silva both finished with nine points, while also contributing solid defense.
    “She’s very athletic for her size and she did a lot of nice things,” Robbins said of Gallegos. “Back to the basket moves, running the floor, defense, blocking shots.
    “I thought they did a nice job posting up and finding the seams on the zone,” she continued about the rest of the post players. “And they also did a really nice job in the first half of going to the offensive glass. They got several nice putbacks.”
    The win was the first of the season for the Lady ‘Riders as they improved to 1-2.
    At halftime, Robbins said she warned her team, who’d built a 55-29 advantage, about playing to the scoreboard and suffering a let down. Despite her words, that might have happened anyways as Labette scored 48 in the second half, but never came closer than 13 points — a task achieved with 1:11 to go when a Natasha Carver 3-pointer pulled the Lady Cardinals within 88-75.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It was a tale of two halves,” Robbins said. “I thought we had a great first half and not a good second half. We warned them at halftime not to play to the scoreboard, and I feel like that’s what we did. We didn’t have the same energy. But it was our first win and we played a really good first half.
    “That’s what we’ve got to build upon and understand that we’ve got to play a full 40 minutes and not just 20.”
    Much of what kept the game from getting out of hand was the 3-point shot, as the Lady Cardinals were not shy about firing it up from long range. They hit a total of 11 3-pointers, accounting for 33 of their 77 points.
    With all of the excitement and hype surrounding the home opener, the Lady ‘Riders didn’t let any nerves show as they were relatively mistake free in the first half.
    “I think it’s good for our kids to get a win in front of the home crowd, and we had a great crowd tonight,” Robbins said. “I think our kids were very excited to play at home … nervous and excited. I think they used the crowd to their advantage, and I think they gave them a lot to cheer about in the first half.”
    The Lady ‘Riders also did a nice job in the transition game, which was an area they’d struggled with in their previous two games.
    “I guess a trademark for us is that we want to run the floor,” Robbins said. “We may not score every time, but we want to make the defense get back and run the floor for 40 minutes. I thought we did a much better job tonight. I think that we’ve gotten better in each of the three games that we’ve played.”
    Dorian Briggs, Crowder’s lone sophomore, followed Gallegos with 14 points, while Tae’lor Monroe had 11, Barbosa, Silva and Courtney Jones added nine, Katie Hughes seven, Tiffany Rhame five and Lori Kleier four.
    Brittany Odom led Labette with 21 points, while Holly Ullery turned in 16 and Carver added 10.
    Crowder is back in action this weekend at the North Arkansas Classic in Harrison, Ark. Crowder will face Carl Albert at 5:30 p.m. Friday before taking on John Wood at noon Saturday.
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