Scots best Lady Buffs

By Ivan Sanders

On Saturday evening, the Milligan Lady Buffs could have been compared to soup warmed in a microwave, hot at the start and cool in the middle.
   Milligan's aggressive play in the first half staked the Lady Buffs to a 31-28 half-time advantage.
   The Covenant Lady Scots turned up the heat after intermission, and handed the Buffs a 62-54 defeat at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   "There's one thing you can count on when Rich puts a team on the floor, they're going to play tough defense," stated Lady Scots coach Tami Smialek. "Milligan is always a tough place to play."
   The Lady Buffs led 13-10 at the 12:08 mark of the half before the Lady Scots would reel off six points over the next 2:23 to take a 16-10 advantage.
   The Lady Buffs pulled even at 18-18 on a three-point bucket by Kingsport native Vera Conkin.
   Both team's traded buckets before Conkin drilled a long-range trey to give Milligan a 23-20 lead with 4:50 remaining in the half.
   A little over :40 elapsed before Conkin knocked down another bomb to push the lead to six, 26-20.
   Covenant whittled the lead to 28-27 on a bucket by last year's AAC Player of the Year, Clair Lowe, with 1:22 remaining on the clock.
   Miranda Greene, a former Hampton Lady Bulldog, converted on a three-point play to edge the lead to 31-27 at the :25 mark. Covenant would add a free-throw to make the score 31-28 at half.
   The Lady Buffs must have thought someone placed an invisible cover on their goal at intermission.
   When play resumed, the Lady Buffs found a tough time scoring, as they could only connect on 4 of 21 field goals in the first twelve minutes of action.
   "If there was a key to the game, I think it was their ability to hit their three's in the second half and we couldn't," commented Lady Buff mentor Rich Aubrey.
   The Lady Scots had better results in the second half than Milligan, as they came out and hit 5 of 9 shots including three treys to re-take the lead.
   "We had to get better defensive play on Conkin in the second half," stated Coach Smialek. "We did shut her down, but they had some post players to step it up and keep them close."
   Milligan was able to stay within reach, even with the poor shooting early on, to pull within two, 49-47, after a bucket by Joy Clark at 6:42 of the contest.
   Clark had an outstanding game, as the sophomore collected several big rebounds to go along with some aggressive moves on the inside for key buckets.
   That was as close as the Lady Buffs could get to the Lady Scots, as Covenant would began pulling away with 5:09 remaining to take the win.
   Lowe would collect 27 points on the evening for Covenant to keep the Lady Scots perfect in league play at 7-0.
   "You can't let a player like Lowe score on second chance points like she did tonight," stated Aubrey. "She will get more than enough points off her offensive game to hurt you."
   Conkin paced the Lady Buffs with 13 points and four rebounds. Clark added 11 points, while Greene collected 10 points and seven boards.
   Laura Kaufmann and Summer Brown provided an excellent supporting cast for Covenant, as both Lady Scots contributed 9 points in the contest.
   Covenant shot 38 percent from the floor for the contest, compared to 33 percent for the Lady Buffs. The Lady Scots hit 46 percent of their three-point shots in the second half to only 8 percent for the Buffs.
   The Lady Buffs will have plenty of positive things to take from the contest.
   "The play of Joy Clark was big, and I think we made some big plays at key times," stated Aubrey. "We just need to make those plays for the full 40 minutes."