HARRISON, Ark. — The Crowder Lady Roughriders showed Tuesday night that it's not how you start but how you finish that counts after their 86-78 win over the North Arkansas Lady Pioneers at the Durand Center.
Crowder outscored North Arkansas 33-22 in the fourth quarter, erasing a 56-53 deficit after three quarters.
Tuesday's win gave the Lady 'Riders their 13th of the season and that number eclipses last season's 12 wins, already in 14 fewer games. Crowder's win stopped a two-game skid with both losses on the road, first Iowa Western and then Mineral Area in the Region 16 opener for the Lady 'Riders.
Crowder, 13-6 overall and 0-1 Region 16, returns to action Saturday in a home contest at Bob Sneller Gymnasium against Region 16 foe Three Rivers. Crowder and Three Rivers tip at 2 p.m.
On Tuesday night, Crowder, playing without sophomore post Zahria White for the fourth straight game, received double-digit scoring games from four different players.
Tori Coulter, behind five 3-point shots, led the way with 17 points and freshman Maegan Bandimere, who hit a pair of trifectas, added a career-high 16 points, beating her previous high of 12 scored Dec. 9 against Eastern Oklahoma.
Bandimere, a native of Fort Smith and a graduate of Fort Smith Northside, played her best collegiate game so far in her home state.
Coulter and Bandimere combined for seven of the team's nine 3-point shots.
Sophomore point guard Michaela Mack finished with 15 points and freshman forward Alex Vogt added 12, while sophomore Coley Ickes and freshman Elle Williams had nine and seven points, respectively.
Morgan Crawford, Bethaney Gilkey, and Aubrie Ayers rounded out the scoring with five, three, and two, respectively.
Hannah Villines scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Lady Pioneers, who also had 15 from Kyra Kahn and 13 points each from Morgan Clemence and Maya Hood.
Crowder improved to 3-0 in games this season at North Arkansas' Durand Center, the Lady 'Riders victorious there earlier this season against John Wood (80-73) and Eastern Oklahoma (102-75) in the Lady Pioneer Classic.
During three wins in Harrison, Crowder averaged just under 90 points per game.
Three Rivers enters Saturday's contest 13-7 overall and 1-2 Region 16, with consecutive losses against Moberly (81-49) and State Fair (94-87).
The Lady Raiders average 78.6 points, 40.2 rebounds, and 16.4 assists per game.
Four players average double-digit scoring for Three Rivers: Lakeita Chappel 13.8, Alex Kohler 13.0, Hailee Erickson 11.8, and DeNayia Holmes 10.8. Chappel, Erickson, and Holmes have started all 20 games for the Lady Raiders.
Holmes, a redshirt sophomore guard, averages 3.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.6 streals, while sophomore Kahliya Murry averages 2.9 blocked shots, good for 10th in all of NJCAA Division I.
Speaking of national leaders, Crowder, one of the best all season, still led NJCAA-I in free throws attempted (534) and ranked third in free throws made (350) entering Tuesday's contest.
The Lady 'Riders host Alumni Day on Feb. 3 against none other than North Arkansas, which turns out to be the last non-Region 16 opponent of the regular season.
Crowder head coach Tina Wilson announced that the 2012-13 NJCAA national tournament squad of five years ago will be recognized.
Crowder posted a 29-6 overall record that season, finishing 16-3 at home, 10-2 away, and 3-1 at neutral sites.
Leaders on that squad included sophomores Sarah Sagely (later a Crowder assistant), Terai Sadler, Caprese Marshall, Chloe Nichols, Caitlin Miller, and Veronica Amos, plus freshmen Dorian Briggs and Camila Lacerda.
Sadler, a native of New Zealand, closed out her collegiate career at Central Arkansas and now plays professionally overseas.
Sagely moved on to Northeastern State, Lacerda to Missouri Southern (now she's the head coach at Ozark Christian College in Joplin), Briggs to Lincoln, Amos to Texas A&M International, and Marshall to Columbia College.
CROWDER 86, NORTH ARKANSAS 78
Crowder 18 15 20 33 — 86
North Arkansas 14 21 21 22 — 78
CROWDER (13-6) — Coley Ickes 9, Tori Coulter 17, Maegan Bandimere 16, Aubrie Ayers 2, Bethaney Gilkey 3, Michaela Mack 15, Morgan Crawford 5, Alex Vogt 12, Elle Williams 7.
NORTH ARKANSAS (10-4) — Kiara Franklin 1, Hannah Villines 29, Ashlyn Taylor 2, Kyra Kahn 15, Morgan Clemence 13, Maya Hood 13, Grace Coates 5.
3-point goals — Crowder 9 (Coulter 5, Bandimere 2, Ickes, Williams), North Arkansas 5 (Kahn 2, Clemence 2, Coates).