Springfield, MO - Looking for their tenth consecutive win, the Lady Cats made the short trip to Springfield Saturday to take on the Patriots of Baptist Bible College. With the game slated for a 2 PM start, the win streak was not the only notable stat being watched. Lady Cat senior forward, Annie Noah, was just seven rebounds shy of 1000 for her career and every missed shot on the day was being watched closely as to the hands in which it landed.
After a two-minute dry spell for both teams, Taylor Rush put the Lady Cats on the board first at the 7:58 mark. Kayley Frank added to the lead with a layup before the Patriots could put their first points on the board. The teams battled back and forth in the early minutes and a three by Jordan Wersinger was answered by the Patriots, Gabby Adams to cut the Lady Cat lead to 10-9. C of O put together a small run with baskets by Annie Noah, Wersinger, and Frank and the lead grew to 16-9. The Patriots were able to keep pace with the Lady Cats over the next several possessions. Avery Arnold bumped the lead to 21-14 with a deep three but BBC quickly responded with a basket. Katie Mayes drained a three with :42 remaining but BBC had the last word in the quarter, sinking a three with :24 left and sending the game to the quarter break with the Lady Cat lead standing at 24-19.
A Katie Mayes layup opened the scoring in the second quarter but BBC refused to buckle. A Patriot basket cut the lead to 26-21 but the Lady Cats continued to apply pressure. Kayley Frank scored and Isabel Rohlfing added a pair of free throws to give the Lady Cats their largest lead, 30-21. BBC outscored the Lady Cats 7-3 to cut the lead to 35-30 but Taylor Rush connected for deep to provide the needed response. Another Rush jumper and a Kayley Frank three sandwiched a Patriot basket and the lead was up to double digits. The Patriots made one more push before halftime and a 7-2 run sent the game to intermission with the Lady Cats leading 45-40.
The second half saw things intensify as a Taylor Rush basket was answered by six straight points to bring the Patriots to within one. Frank and Blythe Benfield responded to the challenge with a basket each and Annie Noah grabbed her 1000th career rebound on the next possession. Noah then scored a basket and a pair of free throws to cap an 8-0 run. BBC scored but another pair of Noah baskets increased the Lady Cat lead to 59-50 and the Patriots needed a timeout. A pair of Wersinger baskets were followed by a Katie Mayes three-point play and a pair of Kayley Frank free throws. The Lady Cats put together a 9-4 run as the quarter wound down, but a Gabby Adams three at the buzzer cut the Lady Cat lead to 68-57 at the final quarter break.
The defense for both teams took over the opening minutes of the final stanza, and neither team could find the bottom of the net. The Patriots broke through first with a basket at the 7:52 mark. Kayley Frank put the Lady Cats on the board with a pair of free throws and the battle to the finish was on. The Lady Cats traded two-point baskets for threes by the Patriots and the lead was cut to 72-65 with 5:15 left to play. Baskets by Noah and Benefield, along with a pair of free throws by Taylor Rush, held off the challenges of the Patriots. Wersinger and Frank answered down the stretch, and the Lady Cat lead was 81-72 with 1:15 remaining. The Patriots elected to send the Lady Cats to the free throw line and time was winding down, with hopes of missed layups and quick baskets. Jordan Wersinger had different plans as she finished the game with for straight free throws to seal the 85-73 win.
Jordan Wersinger and Kayley Frank led all scorers with 22 points each. Annie Noah pulled down 18 rebounds, including her 1000th rebound in the third quarter, to go along with 12 points. Taylor Rush also chipped in 12 points and Katie Mayes added eight. Blythe Benefield, Avery Arnold, and Isabel Rohlfing tacked on four, three, and two points respectively.
The Lady Cats are back in action Tuesday evening at 5 PM on the road at Kansas Christian College.