The Lady Hornets hosted the Bearcats of Northwest Missouri at William L. White Auditorium on Sunday, the 47th meeting between the two teams in which Emporia leads the series 33-14. Even without sophomore Kelsey Balcom in the lineup, the Hornets were able to pull away with a win, 63-50.
Emporia started the game with momentum, winning the tip. After two possessions down the floor, freshman forward Kathryn Flott took the ball to the lane for the first two points of the game.
“I know I had to step up to fill Kelsey’s shoes,“ Flott said. “We boarded the ball and got out and ran and got our transition going.”
Head Coach Jory Collins yelled “patience” as his team worked the ball around, showing good movement. The game grew physical as many bodies were on the floor fighting for every loose ball.
“For about 32 minutes we played really good on defense,” Collins said. “We did much better guarding their post than we did the last time we played them, and I thought that was probably the difference of the game.”
Senior guard Heather Robben drained a three pointer to put the Hornets up 10-4, ending the game as the leading scorer with 12 points. A drive by junior guard Jocelyn Cummings and a three-pointer made by junior guard Rachel Hanf, had the crowding exploding in excitement. The Bearcats were forced to take a timeout with the Hornets leading by a score of 15-4.
“We had a good game plan going in, and we knew what we had to do to get stops,” Rachel Hanf said, adding 11 points for the team. “It feels really good to start hitting shots again.”
The Hornets got offensive rebounds, which gave them multiple opportunities for second chance points. Emporia struggled to get points from the post as the Bearcats double-teamed them when the ball entered inside. Flott continued to score and contribute points off second chance opportunities. The Hornets went into the locker room at half with a lead of 37-23.
Hanf hit a three from the corner to score the first points of the second half, as she soon later scored another to help the Hornets surmount a 19-point lead.
Robben continued to push the ball up the floor as the Hornets seemed to be transitioning easier, driving the full length of the court. Hanf continued her strong three-point shooting, as Flott attained multiple rebounds, ending the game with 8 points and 11 rebounds, a career high. Emporia finished the game strongly and stayed on top of the Bearcats for the victory.
“I think we are continuing to get better,” Collins said. “We have a young team, so our margin for improvement is big still.”