Lady 'Dogs edge 'Landers

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF

   The Hampton Lady Bulldogs were like a good doctor Thursday night. They knew exactly what medicine to give the Cloudland Lady Highlanders.
   The medication was defense, and Hampton played that well enough to defeat Lady 'Landers 53-47 at VanHuss-White Gym.
   The Lady Bulldogs held Taukia Hughes down to four points, and shut big post player Amy Storie down to only eight in the win.
   "Yesterday our practice was defense, defense, defense," Lady Bulldog head coach Leslie Campbell said. "We said if they were going to beat us, that we wanted them to beat us from the outside -- not the inside. We tried to control that as much as we could."
   The Lady Bulldogs received most of their offense from Kari Stout. She didn't start in this one, but still had 32 points in her reserve role.
   "She's a great player," Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield said. "She's as good a player as anybody in East Tennessee. I'll put her against anybody. She handled us tonight. We couldn't do anything with her."
   Stout gave all the credit to her teammates.
   "I thought we played good as a team," Stout said. "It's them that gives me the ball for the shots, and I'm very proud of the team. I'm very proud of everybody."
   Hampton got off to a slow start in this one. The Lady Bulldogs scored only two points in the first 6:42 of the game, as Cloudland led 7-2 in the opening stages.
   "It was a very slow start," Campbell said.
   Stout and the Lady Bulldogs heated up after that. Stout came in and scored 16 first-half points to propel Hampton to a 22-17 lead heading into the locker room.
   The game remained nip and tuck throughout. The contest was tied at 35-35 with 6:00 to go in the fourth quarter.
   But Hampton made the plays down the stretch. A 13-6 run by the Lady Bulldogs put Hampton on top 48-41 with 1:05 left.
   A Crystal Arnold 3-pointer cut Hampton's advantage down to 48-44, but the Lady 'Dogs made their free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
   Birchfield thought his team didn't make the plays at the end of the ball game.
   "We missed several down there when we really needed it," Birchfield said.
   Hampton came through from the free-throw line in this contest. The Lady Bulldogs shot 11-of-13 from the charity stripe.
   Cloudland did receive a solid outing from Tara Hanson. The junior finished with 16 points.
   "I thought Tara played well," Birchfield said. "I thought she stepped up and made some big baskets for us."
   The Lady 'Landers are off until next Friday, while the Lady Bulldogs will be back in action tonight at Volunteer.
   Hampton won by 34 the first time, but Campbell expects the Lady Falcons to have revenge on their minds.
   "I know it could go either way," Campbell said. "They'll give us a fight."