After opening the season seven days earlier, the College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats were finally set to step back into action. The Lady Bobcats played host to the Tabor Bluejays Tuesday night and the offense struggled to get going.
The Bluejays stepped out in front early and led 7-2 with three minutes gone in the opening frame. The Lady Cats could not seem to break through, and Tabor continued to attack the Lady Cat defense. With 6:22 left in the period, Annie Noah added two points to a Kayley Frank basket and the score was 9-4, Tabor. The drought continued for the Lady Cats as Tabor began to heat up and things began to get shaky. The Blue Jays finished the quarter on a 13-6 run and led at the break, 22-10.
The second quarter saw both teams hit a cold stretch from the field but Tabor still managed to outscore the Lady Cats 4-0 in the first 3:24. Back to back Annie Noah baskets at the 6:22 mark created a burst of momentum and it seemed as though the Lady Cats were on the move. A jumper by Kayley Frank and a pair of Jordan Wersinger free throws would cut the deficit to 10 with 4:26 to play. Michelle Gabani got into the scoring column and Kayley Frank followed with a three to cut the gap to five, but Tabor responded to the challenge. The two teams traded baskets to finish out the half and the Lady Cats went into the locker room trailing by six, 35-29.
Both teams struggled to score the first several possessions of the second half until Tabor connected on a pair of shots to go back up by 10. The lady Cats continued to push but the Bluejays always found an answer. A Jordan Wersinger bucket cut the deficit to eight when things took a turn for the worst. On Wersinger’s made basket, she was fouled and came down on the opposing player, twisting her ankle. With Wersinger out for the rest of the game, the Lady Cats needed to refocus. Blythe Benefield replaced Wersinger and nailed the free throw to cut the gap to seven. Foul trouble soon became a factor as well and with 3:16 left in the third, Tabor began to pull away. The Lady Cats could not find the basket and did not score the rest of the period. Tabor, on the other hand, continued to put points on the board and led 62-41 at the break.
The fourth quarter spelled more woes for the Lady Cats as scoring became less frequent and Tabor continued to apply pressure. Tabor opened the quarter with an 8-2 run that took the game to the final 4:00. The Lady Cats could only manage six points in the final frame and Tabor took the contest 81-47.
Annie Noah led all scorers with 20 points, pulling down seven rebounds. Kayley Frank scored nine, while Jordan Wersinger contributed six, Katie Mayes – four, Kyra Hardesty and Blythe Benefield - three, and Dani Kerns and Stevi Jones added one each.
The Lady Cats will travel to Des Moines, IA Friday and Saturday for the Grand View Classic. Games both days will tip off at 5:30 PM