The Lady Hornets basketball team took on Evangel University Monday night in White Auditorium. After a close first half, they beat the Crusaders in the exhibition game, 79-50.
Danielle Latt of Evangel University sank a free-throw with six seconds left in the first half to give her team their first and only lead of the game, 39-38. That was enough to wake the Lady Hornets up as they outscored the Evangel, 41-31, in the second half, sparked by a 24-2 second half start.
“(We) just felt like we were going through the motions, but we were able to get it going in the second half, thanks to our defense, and that led to some easy transition points early on,” said Rachel Hanf, senior guard and marketing major.
In the first half, Emporia State’s lead was as much as 13 points as they gained 23-10 on Evangel in the first eight minutes in the game. The strong start was key, especially deep shots as the Hornets shot the ball 60 percent from long-range for the first minutes in the game.
From there, Evangel fought back and went on a 26-15 run to bring them within two points, 38-36, with a little more than a minute to go.
That’s when Latt capped off their comeback run with an attempted layup but was fouled by Merissa Quick, sophomore forward. After the free-throw, Evangel went into the half with their first lead over the preseason-ranked #19 Lady Hornets.
ESU cooled down from the long-range shots as they dropped their 3-point percentage to 36 percent. But the focus at halftime was defense.
“Coach told us at the half that in order to hit our shots, we need to step up defensively, so that’s what we tried to do,” said Laura Patrick, junior guard and accounting major.
Patrick regained the lead for the Hornets right from the start of the second half, scoring off a steal with just over 19 minutes left to go. From there, the Lady Hornets went on a 20-2 run in the next nine minutes before an Evangel timeout with 11 and a half minutes to go.
Hanf and Patrick led the run as each of them knocked down two 3-point shots, and Hanf added another two-pointer in the paint.
“Rachel has hit a lot of big shots in her career,” said Head Coach Jory Collins. “She feels comfortable, and we want her shooting it.”
The damage was done, and ESU cruised the rest of the way to victory for the next 11 minutes.
Hanf led the way with 14 points on the night off of a 50 percent shooting avergae from the field. Patrick and Quick each added 13 points of their own.
The Lady Hornets tip off their regular season at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at White Auditorium against Newman.