Lady Buffs fend off Intermont

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   Virginia Intermont may have the better record after Saturday's meeting, but the Lady Buffaloes got the better of the Lady Cobras in a 40-minute battle.
   Milligan took off behind solid offense from Kari Stout and Ann Marie Gardner, fighting off a few VI charges, and held on with solid team ball in the second half to take a 62-55 AAC victory at the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   "I felt like we played well the whole night," said Milligan coach Rich Aubrey. "They are a very good team. It's a big win to beat them."
   "I would've liked to have seen us make it a little easier on ourselves," he said. "But we did what we had to do and I am really pleased about that. I thought we rebounded pretty well and that is a good indicator that you are playing pretty hard."
   It was Milligan's fifth conference win of the year, while Virginia Intermont takes its fifth conference loss of the season with an overall 14-6 mark.
   "We didn't shoot well from the foul line. That's hurt us the last few games," said Virginia Intermont coach Heather Conley. "We've been struggling and we had too many turnovers tonight. We didn't execute.
   "We've been in many games like that and fought our way back. We couldn't do it tonight."
   Milligan took off behind a sharp-shooting Stout. The former Hampton standout had 11 of the Lady Buffaloes' first 13 points in the game before Ida Sammons and Mikelle Testerman rallied back to take a lead for the Lady Cobras.
   Roan Mountain's Tara Hanson and teammate Britney Kirtner provided a solid stretch of offense for Intermont, but Milligan rallied right back with three buckets from Gardner.
   A pair of buckets from Amanda Greene and Lacy York helped the Lady Buffaloes take a 33-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.
   Virginia Intermot tied the game early in the second half and took the edge in the first ten minutes of the stanza with buckets from Brandi Owens and Ellen Johnson.
   However, Milligan struck back defensively and got buckets from Joy Clark and Ginny White to take another lead.
   The Lady Buffaloes extended it to six behind Kacie Letterman and Elizabeth Henter as the time ran down. Owens made it a three-point game around the two-minute mark for the Lady Cobras, but they had to start fouling.
   Nicky Jessen was solid from the charity stripe, and Milligan hung on to victory.
   A big key for Milligan's win was their defensive play late in the game.
   "We played pretty solid defense the whole game," Aubrey added. "They have weapons and when you stop them, you're stopping some people who know how to play. They didn't get many baskets that they didn't earn and that usually takes its toll over the course of forty minutes."
   Stout was held scoreless in the second half, but still led the Lady Buffs in scoring with Gardner as both tallied 13 points.
   "Kari played great the whole night," said Aubrey. "She's done a great job lately. She attacked when she needed to attack and she moved the ball when she needed to move the ball. Anne-Marie Gardner had a great game and other people stepped up and made big baskets when we needed to."
   Along with the Lady Cobra Hanson and the Carter County players on Milligan's team, Butler's Kelly Shoun also saw action on the floor for Intermont.
   Ida Sammons led Intermont with 12, while Testermann added 11 for the Lady Cobras.