Lady Cats can’t overcome mistakes in season opening loss to Monroe

Published 4:15 pm Friday, November 25, 2016

By Brandon O’Connor


Turnovers and fouls proved to be the Lady Cats’ downfall Tuesday evening as they fell to Monroe 52-46 in the season opener.

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“Guard play wasn’t good tonight,” head coach Kelvin Cochran said. “Foul trouble got us down. Turnovers were the big key. We turned the ball over.”

Bainbridge started the game on a 7-0 run, but Monroe was able to battle back to close the gap to 11-7 by the end of the first quarter. Early in the second, both teams struggled to make a basket until Bainbridge drained a 3-pointer a minute and 15-seconds into the quarter to take a 14-7 lead.

The teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter and the Lady Cats took a 22-19 lead into halftime.

Bainbridge started the third quarter hot from the field and took its largest lead of the game up 35-25 on a 3-pointer from Tyra Smart who had 11 points in the game.

“She made some big shots for us and she should have shot a couple more when she was open,” Cochran said. “She’s another shooter and that’s something she can excel at. That’s what I told her she’s out there for. She’s not out there to play defense because she’s not a great defensive player, but she’s a great shooter.”

The lead was short lived though as the Lady Cats doomed themselves with multiple self-inflicted wounds to allow Monroe to come back and eventually take the lead. The Tornadoes hit a three and found space for a layup to cut the Lady Cats’ lead to 37-34.

They then forced two quick steals, both of which led to easy layups in transition to take a 38-37 lead with 15-seconds left in the third.

“I feel like we gave the game away,” Cochran said. “We were up by ten and then that little stretch they got the momentum and momentum is hard to turn around in basketball unless you have players that make plays. Tonight we didn’t have that. They didn’t make plays.”

Bainbridge retook the lead early in the fourth quarter when Smart drained yet another three point to put her team up 40-38. Monroe tied the game at 40 with another easy layup following a steal and then took the lead for good, up 45-42.

The Bainbridge offense struggled to find a rhythm after Nadia Marshall, who finished with eight points, fouled out with over four minutes left in the game.

“We could just never turn that corner, especially without Nadia,” Cochran said. “She is a scoring threat anyways even though she wasn’t on tonight. Even so, you’ve got another ball handler and scoring threat. That forces younger girls to step up even more.”

Bainbridge had multiple chances to tie the game and eventually cut the deficit to one on a bucket by Ziuanna Andrews with 2:45 left in the game.

With just under two minutes left, Monroe extended its lead back to three points following another steal.

“It’s very hard, especially when you are dealing with young girls, their confidence level goes down,” Cochran said. “Then they just start shutting down. They’ve got to learn to slow the ball down and don’t be in a rush.”

The Lady Cats finished the game with 26 turnovers, many of which lead to easy Monroe baskets.

“[We] turned the ball over early and often,” Cochran said. “Mistakes that they don’t normally make. When you don’t have that senior depth and people that have been around the program, we really didn’t have anybody that could come off the bench and do better”.

Tytianna Roseborough led the Bearcats with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Andrews had nine points and India Paris had four points and eight rebounds.

The Tornadoes were lead by Alissa Jones with 23 points.

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