The Lady Cats traveled to Paragould, Arkansas this weekend to begin postseason basketball after a short regular season. After the NAIA tournament was cut short last year due to COVID, the Lady Cats have had their sights set on heading back to Sioux City. Fisher College was the last obstacle in their way of doing so.
The Lady Cats started out of the gate hot, with Kayley Frank scoring the initial basket for the Lady Cats. After a missed shot by Fisher College, Gabani took the ball to the other end of the court and put up another basket. Jennifer Rosales countered the C of O offense and hit a 19-foot jumper to put the score at 4-2, favoring C of O. A three point basket by Kyra Hardesty, along with a layup by Annie Noah would put the Lady Cats up 9-2. A back and forth exchange between Fisher and C of O would soon occur. The score would sit at 13-7, in favor of the Lady Cats, for 3 minutes before Hardesty would break the drought with a three point basket. Two Madi Braden free throws and a Grace Steiger three point play would end the 1st quarter with the Lady Cats on top, 21-7.
Steiger started out the 2nd quarter proving to be unstoppable and hit another and-1 shot to push the lead to 24-7. Fisher finally broke their scoring drought with a layup by Shaniah Hazard, but C of O’s offense and defense continued to be too hot for Fisher to stop. Baskets by Steiger, Gabani, and Wersinger all went down for the Lady Cats, but it was Annie Noah who could not be stopped, scoring on three separate occasions for the Lady Cats. A Kayley Frank layup would finish the second quarter for the Lady Cats, up 38-16.
The Lady Cats continued to come out hot in the second half. A Madi Braden three would start the scoring for the Lady Cats in the second half, alongside a three from Jordan Wersinger. Annie Noah and Grace Steiger continued to be a problem for Fisher College and the Lady Cat offense rolled the rest of the quarter. The biggest lead of the night for the Lady Cats was found after a Kayley Frank layup which put the ladies up, 53-20. Fisher picked up their offense with baskets by Hazard and O’Neal, but by the end of the 3rd quarter, C of O was up, 57-27.
The final quarter for the Lady Cats was more of the same, shut down defense combined with red-hot offense. Steiger and Noah proved to be the duo to stop for the night and would not be denied throughout the 4th. After back and forth play in the final quarter, C of O finished their night with a Madi Braden three point basket. When the zeroes hit the clock, C of O was on top with a 71-38 victory, and an automatic bid back to the NAIA tournament.
The Lady Cats were led by Annie Noah’s 18 points. Grace Steiger provided 12 points while Kayley Frank added 10. Jordan Wersinger contributed 9 points while Madi Braden put up 8 points. Gabani and Hardesty chipped in six each. Rounding out the scoring, Stevi Jones contributed 2 points.
When asked, Coach Mullis stated, “We came out focused and ready to play today. I’m proud of our effort and how we took care of business. We pounded it inside, and Annie and Grace both played well and were unstoppable in the paint. We accomplished half of what we set out to do this weekend. We will have to be ready tomorrow.”
The Lady Cats will take on Crowley’s Ridge College Saturday in the A.I.I. Conference Championship at 3:00 PM.