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Lady Cats Down Spartans

Dec 09, 2023

#22 Kayley Frank

#10 Susie Moran

Point Lookout, MO - Coming off a lopsided win over St. Ambrose University Wednesday night, the College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats were set to host the Spartans of Missouri Baptist University in an afternoon game at Keeter Gymnasium. The Lady Cats took the earlier meeting against the Spartans 96-88 in St. Louis.

Both teams started the contest struggling to find the bottom of the net and there were no points on the board after the first two minutes of play. Blythe Benefield opened the scoring for the Lady Cats and MBU answered with a three on the next possession. The Lady Cats were controlling the boards and playing solid defense, but they were having trouble putting points on the board. Benefield scored again before Logan Jones gave the Lady Cats the early 6-5 lead. Avery Arnold grabbed a steal and went coast to coast to add to the advantage, but a pair of Spartan free throws cut the gap and the battle was on. A pair of MBU baskets bounced the lead to the Spartans for an 11-9 advantage. With 2:41 showing on the clock, a Susie Moran free throw cut the gap in half. Both teams were playing aggressive and physical defense, so offense was difficult to come by. A Kayley Frank jumper from the elbow regained the lead for the Lady Cats and a pair of Logan Jones free throws bumped the score to 14-11. MBU hit a three to tie it with :32 left, and the Lady Cats final shot fell short to end the opening frame.

MBU opened the scoring in the second quarter with a basket and a free throw. A Susie Moran basket off an Abbey Linville assist cut the deficit, but an offensive rebound and putback gave the Spartans a 19-16 lead. A pair of Kayley Frank free throws trimmed the gap and an Abbey Linville driving bucket regained the Lady Cat lead. The Spartans took a timeout to talk it over with 5:57 remaining in the period and The Lady Cats leading 20-19. A Spartan bucket out of the huddle flipped the lead and the tug of war continued. Susie Moran provided the Lady Cat answer and a Kayley Frank steal led to another Moran bucket for a 24-21 advantage. A Spartan three tied it again and it was clear this was going to be a battle to the finish. Another Spartan three returned the lead to the visitors and the shooting woes for the Lady Cats continued. A Kayley Frank basket with under two minutes to play cut into the MBU lead but the Spartans responded with a three. Frank answered on the other end again, but the Lady Cats needed stops and an offensive run. With time winding down in the period, Susie Moran scored inside to tie it and Blythe Benefield came up with the ball out of a skirmish to score and put the Lady Cats on top, 32-30 heading to the locker room.

With 20 minutes left to play, the Lady Cats were looking to dispel their shooting woes. Going 13-33 from the field and 0-9 from beyond the arc, they knew they were fortunate to be on top at the intermission. Kayley Frank opened the scoring in the second half and Blythe Benefield sank an acrobatic layup and a free throw to complete the traditional three-point play. Another Benefield free throw and a Moran basket bumped the lead to 40-31, and MBU was looking to find an answer. A pair of Spartan free throws cut the gap and a three followed. Avery Arnold answered with a five-point run of her own and a Frank basket put the Lady Cats ahead 49-36. Another MBU trey cut into the lead again, but Kayley Frank responded on the other end. MBU continued to battle but a Moran bucket inside and another Avery Arnold three countered the Spartan challenges to give the Lady Cats a 56-44 advantage. With time winding down in the quarter, a Spartan basket and a free throw cut the lead to 56-47. With one last chance to score, a Lady Cat miss was snagged by Kayley Frank and her shot fell through as the buzzer sounded. The Lady Cats took a 58-47 lead to the final stanza.

Frank opened the scoring again in the fourth quarter with a pair of baskets and a pair of free throws, and MBU was in danger of letting the game slip away. Abbey Linville scored on a drive and the Lady Cats were looking to put the game out of reach. MBU turned up the full court defense, but the strategy would send the Lady Cats to the free throw line with over six minutes left to play. An MBU three cut the Lady Cat lead to 68-57, with 5:52 remaining, and the Lady Cats needed to continue to attack. With several fouls being called, the clock was not running, and the Spartans would be the ones to benefit. Logan Jones and Susie Moran offset a Spartan basket and MBU called a timeout trailing 74-60, with 4:16 remaining in the contest. A Kayley Frank assist for a Susie Moran bucket greeted the Spartans out of the huddle and another pair of Jones buckets bumped the lead to 80-60. With 2:20 left to play, the Lady Cats were in control, and they needed the clock to continue moving. Logan Jones scored on consecutive trips to boost her point total and the Lady Cat lead. MBU closed out the scoring with a three, but the Lady Cats secured the 87-68 win for their second straight, and fifth win out of their last six tries.

Kayley Frank led all scorers with 24 points to go with her nine rebounds and Susie Moran chalked up another double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Logan Jones, Blythe Benefield, and Avery Arnold recorded double figure scoring as well with 17, 10, and 11 points respectively. Abbey Linville chipped in five points and the Lady Cats improved to 9-3 on the season.

The Lady Cats will hit the road for a pair of games in Kansas next weekend as they visit Friends University on Friday, and McPherson College on Saturday.