Kirksville dumps Lady Owls
Given how Kirksville denied the Marshall girls' basketball team an outright NCMC championship with an overtime win in the regular season finale a year ago, one might think revenge would be on the Lady Owls' agenda during their first 2007-08 meeting.
Instead, Marshall was "out-worked, out-hustled" by the Lady Tigers, according to MHS head coach Tom Hayob, during a 52-40 loss Tuesday in Missouri Valley College's Burns Athletic Center.
That was evident by how Kirksville grabbed offensive rebounds on 14 of their 33 missed shots and forced 21 turnovers from a team with three seniors starting at guard.
"We let their pressure hurt us some," Hayob noted, pointing more to the Lady Tigers' half-court man-to-man defense than their full-court press. "We've seen that much pressure before and it hasn't bothered us, but it bothered us tonight."
Kirksville jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening three minutes, but the Lady Owls broke the skein on senior Courtney Henley's three-pointer.
Still, Marshall went through a four-minute drought before putting together a 9-0 run, Henley tallying five of those points, to pull in front 14-9 with just under six minutes left in the half.
Once more, the Lady Owls' offense disappeared, four straight possessions ending in turnovers. Junior Brittany Beeler hit from outside to begin a 17-4 Lady Tiger spree which extended into the second half.
"The last couple of minutes of the first half and the first few minutes of the second half were the difference," Hayob declared. "We did okay for a while, but we quit moving."
Junior Jessica Harriman converted an inside feed from Henley to cut the deficit to five points, but Harriman would miss the fourth quarter with an injury.
Kirksville took advantage of the absence of the 6-foot-1 post, 6-2 junior Laurel Wichmann getting a conventional three-point play and junior Blair Riley driving through the lane to push the margin to 11 points with 2:42 left in the game.
One free throw by Wichmann and two more by Riley made it 46-32 with 1:45 to play. Although the Lady Tigers missed four of eight charity shots during the final 63 seconds, Marshall was unable to threaten.
Riley and sophomore Jackie Bishop each scored 12 points for Kirksville (4-1, 2-1 NCMC).
Henley led the Lady Owls (3-3, 2-2) with 16 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists. Marshall is off until Jan. 8, when it hosts Smith-Cotton.