College of the Ozarks men’s and women’s basketball travelled to St. Thomas to play two games each, in as many days, against the University of the Virgin Islands. On Wednesday, the Lady Cats defeated UVI for their second decisive win of the trip, 73-45.
Sophomore Kyra Hardesty got things started off right for C of O, spreading the ball around for a game high four assists, all of which were accumulated in the first half. On the receiving end of some of those passes, Abby Oliver found her touch from the outside, knocking down a pair of triples to put the Lady Cats out in front after the first quarter, 20-17.
Although the Lady Buccaneers of UVI hung tough through the first quarter, C of O’s hot shooting continued. Ashley Forrest connected on a trio of first-half three-pointers. Forrest’s offensive outburst in conjunction with the constant Lady Bobcat defensive pressure led to a 22-7 second quarter.
For the half, the Lady Bobcats had a 42-24 lead. C of O shot 15 for 27 from the field (55.6%) including 7 for 13 (53.8%) from distance. UVI countered with just 8 for 26 (30.8%) from the field and 1 for 6 (16.7%) from outside.
In the second half, the C of O bench came alive. For the game the bench outscored UVI’s bench, 29-0. Julie Stone led the way with nine points on 3 for 5 from downtown. Jordan Wersinger added seven points and Harper Little chipped in six points.
C of O extended their lead in the third quarter by outscoring UVI 17-10. For the final frame, the Lady Bobcats scored 14 to UVI’s 11 points to finish the win, 73-45. For the game, C of O shot a solid 26 for 57 (45.6%) from the field, including 13 for 32 (40.6%) from distance. UVI managed to shoot just 15 for 49 (30.6%) from the field.
On this evening, much of the Lady Cat success was predicated on passing and rebounding. As a team, C of O logged 21 team assists. The Lady Bobcats also out rebounded UVI 42-29. From the point guard position, Hardesty led the game in both statistics individually with four assists and seven rebounds. Abby Oliver led all scorers with 17 points. Ashley Forrest added 11 points and six rebounds. Aleksei Smith had seven points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
With the win, C of O improves to 14-3 on the season. The Lady Bobcats return to action on January 17th at the MLK Classic in Lincoln, Illinois against Lincoln Christian University at 6 PM.