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Lady Cats Make Statement; Avenge Earlier Loss

Jan 22, 2024

#14 Logan Jones

Fresh off a road trip to Lawrence, Kansas for the Haskell Indian Nations University Classic, the College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats returned home for a rematch with Northern New Mexico College. The Eagles were part of the Haskell Classic and the Lady Cats fell in that matchup, 90-81. After trailing by nearly 30 points in the game Friday, the Lady Cats cut the gap to five in the fourth quarter and nearly completed the comeback. They were looking to flip the script Monday at Keeter Gymnasium. The Lady Cats were fired up and ready to stake claim to their home court. They were not only looking to avenge the earlier loss, but they wanted to make a statement in doing so.

Blythe Benefield jumped on the board to open the scoring and NNMC quickly answered. A Susie Moran two was followed by a Kayley Frank three and the tone was set. The Eagles responded and the battle was on. Logan Jones and Taylor Rush joined the scoring assault, and a 6-0 run had the Lady Cats up 13-6. The teams began trading baskets as the Lady Cats continued to answer every Eagles Challenge. Moran, Frank, and Jones carried the scoring load the rest of the quarter and the Lady Cats held a 24-16 lead at the break.

Defense dominated both ends of the floor for the first 1:08 of the second stanza. Keara Mattingley scored back-to-back buckets to bump the lead to 28-16 and the Lady Cat defense held the Eagles in check until the 6:30 mark. Back-to-back baskets by Ethena Silva cut the Lady Cat lead to 28-20 before Kayley Frank responded for two. Logan Jones scored on consecutive trips, but the Eagles were battling back. With the lead cut to 34-28, Abbey Linville answered the call and splashed home a three to extend the lead back to nine. The defense for both teams continued to hold strong and a pair of buckets by Keara Mattingley and Blythe Benefield sent the Lady Cats to the locker room with a 41-30 advantage.

A quick Taylor Rush three was backed up by a Blythe Benefield layup and the Lady Cats set the tone for the second half in the early minutes. The Eagles were determined to stay close, but the Lady Cats had other plans. The teams traded baskets and the Eagles were unable to close the gap. With a pair of free throws and a basket by Blythe Benefield, the Lady Cat lead was extended to 54-39. Benefield’s layup started a 6-0 run, and the Lady Cats were pulling away. Moran and Jones each sank a pair of free throws and Jones finished off the quarter with a three to send the game to the final break with the Lady Cats leading 65-49.

The Eagles continued to battle but the Lady Cats were determined to answer each challenge. A small run for the visitors gave them some hope, but baskets by Logan Jones and Kayley Frank provided the response. Susie Moran connected on a traditional three-point play and the teams were back to trading baskets. Frank found the bottom of the net and Linville drained a pair of free throws to put the Lady Cats up 77-61 with 4:13 to play. Linville and Moran scored back-to-back trips down the floor and the Lady Cats held their biggest lead, 81-61. Linville and Moran teamed up with Kayley Frank to add to the lead before the Eagles were able to break their offensive silence. Mattingley, Arnold, and Lauren Jones finished off the scoring and when the dust settled, the Lady Cats had returned the favor to the Eagles with the 93-75 win.

Logan Jones posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way for the Lady Cats. Kayley Frank added 18 points and nine rebounds while Susie Moran notched another double-double of her own with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Blythe Benefield and Abbey Linville each added 10 points, Keara Mattingley chipped in nine, and Taylor Rush tacked on five. Avery Arnold and Lauren Jones chipped in two each in the win.

The Lady Cats return to action at home Friday when they host Ecclesia College at 5:30.