MC overcomes Pride without prejudice
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
There was Pride but no prejudice Saturday.
Maryville’s Lauren Burnett dropped in five treys, Tayler Smith grabbed a game-high 13 boards to put the Stone Memorial product over the 500 career rebound plateau, and Lailah Farmer dropped in back-to-back 3-pointers Saturday to break the back of visiting Greensboro and counter a 27-point effort from the Pride’s Bianca Richburg, as the Lady Scots remained undefeated in conference play with a 70-53 USA South victory.
Richburg lit up the Cooper Center hitting 9-of-18 and grabbing a dozen rebounds before fouling out late, but Maryville College (11-1, 5-0 USAC) simply had too many weapons and too much range for Greensboro (6-5, 2-3).
Greensboro cut the lead to 23-20 on Chevena Pickard’s driving bucket and follow-on foul shot with 3:07 to play in the first, but four different Scots pitched in points to reward a ratcheted-up defense in the decisive stretch. MC outscored the Pride 19-8 over the next 8 minutes with Kierra Payne turning two turnovers into layups, Smith posting up for a pair of athletic spin moves around the bigger Greensboro defenders before Burnett knocked down a pair of treys and Farmer drained a pair from the top of the key for a 45-31 lead.
“They were sagging in a lot, and in that case you have to drive it or shoot it, what you can’t do is stand there and play catch,” MC coach Darrin Travillian said. “We shot a few more 3s than I would have liked. I thought there were a few times we settled for taking a 3. Obviously when it goes in, people go crazy, but it’s still not a good shot. You just get points for it.”
Richburg matched Maryville basket for basket the first 10 minutes, putting up 10 of her 27 to power visiting Greensboro to its first lead at 12-10.
“She’s so good. We definitely had a heightened awareness of 14 and I thought we actually defended her pretty well, she’s just that good,” Travillian said. “We tried to make every catch a tough one, contest every shot, make her work.”
The Scots answered the GC challenge from all around the arc. Alex Bond, Janell Menard, and Mackenzie Puckett followed Burnett’s stroke from 3-point land for five bombs in reply. Menard’s first trey reknotted the game at 16 while Puckett sank a kick out from Farmer for the lead as MC got 15 outside and just 4 points in the paint the first 15 minutes.
“We wanted to climb the boards. We wanted to own them,” Travillian said after the Scots finished with a 42-37 rebounding margin over a Pride lineup featuring a pair of 6-footers. “The beginning of the game we missed four or five point-blank shots. We had to amp up the effort and work on our rebounding, too.”
Burnett was 5-for 10 from beyond the arc after missing her last two and the Scots shot 39 percent as a team hitting 11 3-pointers in all while holding the Pride to just 2-for-20 and forcing Richburg to take her inside game — where the Hillsborough, N.C. senior was 8-of-12 — outside as the Pride tried to cut the MC lead that ballooned to 19.
“The 3 is what they were giving us. I’ve been struggling a little with my shot, but it was a good day to get in rhythm and knock it down,” Burnett said. “They tended to collapse on our post, so when they got it back out, it left us open. I think they were focusing more on Taylor than our outside play. We tend to shoot it better as a team when we get in rhythm like that.
“Coach T’s rule is to get it in and if there’s a call, kick it out. We don’t always make that call when we should, and we get in trouble for that, but we were doing it well today.”
Alex Bond added 14 points for Maryville — going 2-of-3 behind the arc and 5-for-10 from the floor — while grabbing five rebounds and handing out two assists without a turnover. Menard, who was honored postgame for joining MC’s 1,000 Point Club during a pair of away games last weekend, recorded 10.
The Lady Scots return to action at 2 p.m. today hosting Methodist (8-4, 3-2), who lost to Ferrum — one of the three undefeated teams remaining in USAC play. The Lady Panthers come calling in Maryville Wednesday night.