Lady Buffs subdue King College, 82-67

By Allen LaMountain
ASST SPORTS EDITOR
awlamountain@starhq.com

   With five players scoring double figures, the upwardly mobile Milligan College Lady Buffaloes, turned a tight ballgame into a rout with a second half surge, to turn back King College 82-67 on Saturday afternoon at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   Milligan (9-7 AAC, 12-12 overall) used a 14-6 run at the end of the first half to take a 39-33 advantage into the break, then used a 19-3 run to open the second half to establish a 20-point second half advantage.
   "Tonight we wanted to take advantage of scoring opportunities every time down the floor," said Lady Buffs head coach Rich Aubrey. "We did a good job of taking advantage of what we wanted to do. Early on they were out-rebounding us, but in the second half we did a much better job of giving them just one shot."
   The Lady Tornado (6-11 AAC, 12-15 overall) - which must be a conference leader in knee braces and crutches - made a couple of runs at Milligan in the second half, but were too depleted to close the deal.
   "We had three kids out tonight," said King head coach Brad Horstmann. "Bobbie Blevins has a broken foot, Rebekah Wilson has been out and Katie Coulter as well. Megan Gammon played with a cast on her arm, but we don't want to use injuries as an excuse. The kids played extremely hard and that has been the one constant to the season."
   An up and down first half saw Milligan take an early 14-6 lead, but King then began to heat up as Sabrina Palmer hit a deuce and Heather Houghton buried a trey before Ginny White answered for Milligan with a three.
   King took its first and only lead of the game at 21-20 after a deuce by Houghton, but the Lady Buffs out-scored King 19-12 the rest of the way as senior forward Kristen Kirkvliet scored 10 of her 13 points in the first half.
   Jennifer Testa scored nine of her game-high 21 points in the first half to lead the Lady Tornado.
   Joy Clark scored nine of her team-high 16 points in the first half and said of her teams' efforts on the night, "It meant a lot for us to come out strong in the second half. King out-rebounded us in the first half and coach told us in the locker room to get on the boards. No second chances on missed shots."
   In the second half Kirkvliet opened with a three and Ashley Stocton answered for King with a two-point jumper. Amanda Greene scored for the Lady Buffs and Stocton was one-for-two from the charity stripe before another White three-point bomb staked Milligan to a 47-36 lead.
   Moments later senior forward Vera Conkin swished a triple for a 50-36 Lady Buffs lead, forcing Horstmann to use a timeout to try and rally his troops.
   It didn't seem to matter as Milligan was red-hot now and Amanda Hammons and Greene each cashed in with long-distance calls to cap the Lady Buffs 19-3 run that staked Milligan to a 59-36 lead.
   "Milligan shot the ball very well," commented Horstmann. "We out-rebounded them for the game, but they shot 57 percent from the field in the second half. Our goal was to try and limit (Kari) Stout, and we did that, but the others chipped in and made their shots. You just have to take your hat off to them."
   Stocton hit back-to-back shots after another King College timeout and Houghton was good on a two-pointer but another Hammons three stopped the mini-run by the Lady Tornado.
   Stout scored her first points of the night on a deuce that gave Milligan a seemingly insurmountable 71-52 lead at the 5:35 mark of regulation, but King showed it wasn't going to go down easily.
   Testa - in an amazing individual scoring show- hit four straight three's and Palmer cashed in another as King completed a 15-2 run that saw the Lady Tornado close to within 75-67 with 1:06 left.
   In the run King hit six straight three-pointers, with one answered by a White three, but it would not be enough as Milligan closed strong at the foul line.
   Hammons scored a team-high 18 points, followed by Clark's 16 point effort. White tallied 14, Kirkvliet added 13, and Conkin added 11. Stocton finished with 13 for King. "I thought that Kari Stout did her best defensive work by far," said Aubrey. "She contributed to this win without scoring, and she showed a lot of tenacity. Our goal for the rest of the season is to try and move up as many notches as we can. We want to gain on the one's ahead of us and not lose ground to the one's behind us."