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Lady Cats Dominate on Senior Day

Feb 17, 2024

#22 Kayley Frank

#13 Blythe Benefield

Point Lookout, MO – Looking to continue building toward post-season play, the College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats hosted the Haskell Indian Nations University Indians on Senior Day at Keeter Gymnasium.

The Lady Cats recognized Senior Kayley Frank prior to the game as she embarks on her final stretch run as a Lady Cat. Kayley is currently doing her student teaching in the Hollister school district and will complete her degree in Elementary Education in May. Kayley has had a major impact on Lady Cat Basketball during her time at C of O and continues to build on her legacy as she closes out her final season. As a member of the 1000-point club, her numbers have continued to climb, and she surpassed the 1500-point mark on December 2 of this season. She is currently averaging 18.2 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, and has piled up 98 assists to go with her 45% shooting from the field. She currently stands at 1,787 points (6th all-time) and 779 rebounds (8th all-time) for her career.

Looking to follow up their 78-74 win on February 1 in Lawrence, KS, the Lady Cats were looking to take the second of two matchups with the Indians.

Taylor Rush opened the game with a deep trey on the first Lady Cat possession and Susie Moran followed a Lady Cat stop with her first two of the game. Blythe Benefield jumped on the board with a free throw and Logan Jones Drilled a pair of threes and another basket to force a Haskell timeout. Leading 16-2 after the first 3:29, The Lady Cats were setting the tone early and were scorching the nets. A Kayley Frank conventional three-point play and another two out of the huddle bumped the Lady Cat lead and Haskell was struggling to find offense. Haskell broke through for a basket at the 3:43 mark and a three on the next possession to get their offense going. Moran ended the small drought with a free throw and Benefield and Frank added a bucket each to build back the lead.  Keara Mattingley scored her first points with time running out in the opening frame and the Lady Cats took a 30-7 lead to the first quarter break.

After a quick four points for the visitors, Benefield answered with a pair of layups to start the second period scoring for the Lady Cats. Haskell had found some life for their offense, and they continued to attack the basket. Another 4-0 stretch cut the gap before a Frank layup provided the response. A Frank assist to Moran added to the lead and with 5:59 showing on the clock, the lead was 38-15. A Haskell three was answered by a Taylor Rush trey and Haskell responded with another on their end. Frank scored inside and Benefield drained a three then a free throw, and the lead grew to 48-23, with 3:21 left in the half. Haskell refused to give in, and the pressure continued on both ends of the floor. Another deep ball by Taylor Rush was combined with a Susie Moran conventional three-point play to help the Lady Cats hold off the Haskell challenges. With time running down in the quarter, both teams had a chance to score, but neither could convert. The game went to the intermission with the Lady Cats holding a 55-27 advantage.

Haskell opened the second half scoring with a three and Susie Moran battled for a rebound and putback to provide the answer. Another Haskell Three was followed by a Frank drive for two and the race was on. Haskell turned up the full court pressure and it was clear the second half would be a tug of war. Logan Jones splashed home a deep three and the Lady Cat lead grew to 63-33. Despite the deficit, Haskell was refusing to give in. Every trip down the floor saw increased pressure and the effort by both teams matched the intensity. Another Logan Jones three was followed by layups by Benefield and Rush and the Lady Cats were answering every Indian challenge. With 2:05 left in the third, the Lady Cat lead had grown to 72-39. A pair of Haskell free throws cut into the Lady Cat advantage, but Abbey Linville answered with a pair from the charity stripe of her own. Haskell continued to battle, and the lead was cut to 74-45 at the end of the third quarter.

A Frank jumper opened the fourth quarter scoring, and the Lady Cats were looking to run down the clock. The Indians continued to use pressure defense to dictate the tempo of the game and the Lady Cats continued to attack the basket. A Benefield free throw was followed by a Frank three and the Lady Cats continued to hold the Indians in check. The physical play of the game kept both teams on the free throw line down the stretch and made it difficult for the Lady Cats to run down the clock. Abbey Linville busted a three at the 3:55 mark and the Lady Cat lead was 86-51. Neither team lit up the net the rest of the way and baskets by Benefield and Mattingley answered the Indian Challenges. The buzzer sounded with the Lady Cats closing out the 90-55 win.

Kayley Frank led the way with 21 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in her final home game as a Lady Cat and Blythe Benefield poured in 18 points in the win. Susie Moran added another double-double to her resume with 16 points and 14 rebounds while Logan Jones and Taylor Rush added double figure scoring with 14 and 11 points respectively. Abbey Linville chipped in five points, Keara Mattingley tacked on four, and Avery Arnold added one point in the win.

The Lady Cats will head to Campbellsville, KY on February 24 to face the Tigers who are ranked #3 in the latest NAIA poll.