Fast start helps Lady Bears blow past Hinds

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

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A little more than 48 hours removed from a tough loss, the Lady Bears didn’t let Saturday’s defeat get them down as they got both their offense and defense going early on and rode that wave of momentum to a 70-42 home win Monday night over Hinds.

“Focus was a concern after Saturday, but I liked our vibe in warmups,” SMCC head coach Brent Harris said. “It gave us peace (and) shootaround was good. Everyone got a run tonight and our starters got us off to a good start. I thought that we looked really good at times.”

After the game, Coach Harris praised his starters for helping to get things going for the Lady Bears (13-6, 8-2 MACCC). But he said that an individual who really stood out to him was reserve guard Nia Hardison, who finished with a team-high 18 points, shooting 7-for-8 from the field, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and 2-for-2 from the free throw line.

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“She made it easy…get a right-hand layup, make your free throws, get a 3 when you can,” Coach Harris said. “She has excellent speed, excellent burst. She is a player! She’s got that scorer feel. She had a really good night off the bench.”

Hardison said that preparation was key entering the ball game.

“I just came out focused and ready to play, like I was supposed to,” she said. “We had to come back in and redeem ourselves after that tough loss to Jones.”

From the opening tip the Lady Bears grabbed the lead over the Lady Bulldogs and never let up. Lynn Griffin kicked off the most productive quarter of the night for SMCC with a 3-pointer before Hardison and Shylia McGee joined the fray with several makes of their own. The duo combined to score 22 of the Lady Bears’ 31 first quarter points.

The best quarter of the night offensively was matched by the best defensively for the hosts as they held Hinds to seven points in the first 10 minutes of play.

Leading 44-18 at the half, Coach Harris played the rest of his bench giving reserves plenty of time on the floor. Ten of his 13 players in the game registered points with three finishing in double figures. In addition to Hardison’s big night, Griffin poured in 15 points while McGee had 12.

The Lady Bears will be on the road Thursday in Fulton to face Itawamba.