After a long break from a “normal” game atmosphere, the College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats were excited to get the 2021-22 season underway. Jumping right back into their normal ways, the Lady Bobcats won big in front of their home crowd at Keeter Gymnasium. With solid defense and an aggressive offensive attack, the Lady Cats opened the game with a 20-2 run against the Swedes of Bethany College. Annie Noah scored eight of her game high 19 points in the first quarter to get the Lady Cats rolling.
Leading 20-8 at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Cats used a strong quarter by Jordan Wersinger to maintain the lead. Wersinger hit a three, a pair of twos, and went four for four from the charity stripe to help keep the Swedes in check. Bethany began to heat up from long range in the second frame, hitting a trio of threes. The Lady Cats were unable to increase their lead as Bethany turned up the full court defensive pressure and the Lady Cats went into the intermission leading 35-24.
The third quarter was all Lady Bobcats. In a balanced offensive effort, C of O saw Stevie Jones, Katie Mayes, Michelle Gabani, Kayley Frank, and Blythe Benefield all contribute on the scoreboard. The Lady cats continued to attack the basket and the full court pressure of Bethany was ineffective. Leading by as many as 23 in the third quarter, the Lady Cats finished the period up 55-36.
The fourth quarter was a back and forth battle as Bethany turned up the defense once again. With the defense spreading out to the perimeter, Annie Noah and Kayley Frank were able to attack the basket and maintain the Lady Cat lead. While Bethany tried to mount a comeback, the Lady Cats balance proved to be too much for them to overcome. The Lady Cats finished the game strong and took the season opener 76-61.
Coach Becky Mullis stated, ““Tonight was a great start to the season and I was proud of our effort on both ends of the floor. Our strong defensive effort and balanced offense will give us something to build on as we continue to grow and move forward in our season.”
Annie Noah opened the season with a double-double, pouring in 19 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Jordan Wersinger and Kayley Frank put up double figure scoring as well with 18 and 14 points respectively. Freshman Blythe Benefield chipped in eight points while Katie Mayes scored six, Kyra Hardesty five, and Cameran Martin, Michelle Gabani, and Stevi Jones each added two. Michelle Gabani and Kayley Frank snagged seven and six rebounds respectively in the win.
The Lady Cats will be back in action next Tuesday at home in a men’s and women’s double-header against Tabor College. The Lady Cats will tip off at 5:30, the Bobcats at 7:30.