Lady Buffs surge past Montreat

By Allen LaMountain

ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
awlamountain@starhq.com

   With five players scoring in double figures, the Milligan College Lady Buffaloes tallied a season-high 94 points, in pulling away in the second half from the Lady Cavaliers of Montreat College.
   Freshman Kari Stout fired in a team-high 23 points on Thursday afternoon at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse in leading the Lady Buffs second half surge that saw Milligan extend a two-point advantage to a 94-78 victory.
   "We played well together as a team tonight," said Stout. "We helped each other out and we are the type of team that when we are playing well on defense it helps us on offense."
   The Lady Buffs needed to turn up the defensive pressure on one player in particular, that being Lady Cavs junior forward Jennifer Brooks who scored 23 first half points enroute to a 35 point explosion.
   Brooks finished 15-of-23 (65.2 percent) from the floor in total and was five-of-nine from distance.
   "Brooks is a great three-point shooter," Stout added. "She just gets the ball and shoots it."
   The two teams played up and down the floor in a fast-paced first half as Milligan had an early seven-point run to take an 8-2 advantage, but were never able to pull away as Brooks hot-shooting kept the Lady Cavs close.
   At the two-minute mark of the first half Milligan built a nine-point lead at 37-28 only to see Brooks once again ignite a Montreat rally as the Lady Cavs closed the half with a nine-to-two run to make it a 39-37 game at the break.
   "The first half I thought had kind of a strange flow to it," said Milligan head coach Rich Aubrey. "We played well and had a couple of good streaks, but we really took control in the second half. We are making good progress as the season goes along and we gain confidence each time out."
   Junior post Amanda Greene opened the second half with a deuce in the paint, and following a basket by Monica Helderman, both Amanda Hammons and Ginny White hit back-to-back trey's for Milligan.
   Minutes later Stout hit a basket to give Milligan a 51-41 lead. Jessica Mills then hit a two-point shot for Montreat, but Milligan quickly responded. Hammons and Stout each scored baskets, Kristen Kirkvliet dropped in a three and Stout scored again off a steal as the Lady Buffs began to assert themselves.
   In all the Lady Buffs pulled off a 19-4 run to open up a 60-43 advantage at the 13:34 mark of regulation.
   The Lady Buffs meanwhile had adjusted to Brooks and she was not getting the open looks she enjoyed in the first half. "We lost track of her a couple of times in the zone defense," said Aubrey. "We went zone trying to adjust to the way the game was being played. I thought Amanda Greene did a great job in the second half defending her."
   The rest of the way the Lady Cavaliers out-scored Milligan 35-34, but the big run was enough for the Lady Buffs to even it's Appalachian Athletic Conference mark to 6-6 (9-11 overall). Montreat fell to 5-7 AAC (6-13 overall).
   "We played a very good Milligan team," said Montreat head coach Joe Hagan. "They had a great game plan, they shot well from beyond the arc and they are playing very well at home. You have to give the credit to Milligan."
   Referring to Milligan's defensive efforts against Brooks in the second half Hagan said, "When someone is scoring on you like that you have to pay more attention to them, and Brooks is a very capable scorer."
   Mills pitched in 25 points for Montreat in support of Brooks, while White tallied 18, Joy Clark 15, and Hammons and Kirkvliet had 10 each for Milligan.