The Lady Ravens seized the initiative in their home opener on Friday against the Lindenwood Belleville Lynx, and squelched a second-half rally attempt to remain undefeated.
The Lady Ravens handled the ball well throughout the first half, scoring about 42.5 percent of their shots and holding the Lynx to a little under 32 percent, while allowing no treys.
“You know .. I thought (sophomore forward) Natalie Smaron, she got her first start today, came in and did a good job, got a lot of big rebounds for us and putbacks,” said Head Coach Chad Folsom. “I thought freshman (forward) Ali Brzozowski also did a great job in the post today. I thought we had some great opportunities in there.”
Senior guard Zeynep Canbaz led the team in scoring with six field goals and 13 assists, backed up by junior forward Grace Brzozowski, with four field goals and 10 assists. This set up a score of 22-8 after the first quarter.
“I thought Grace did a good job coming out and hitting some big shots in the first half, but it’s been this way for us throughout; it’s been pretty much a team effort,” Folsom said. “Hopefully we can keep it up.”
The Lady Ravens sealed their success in the first half with an impressive fast break by freshman forward Skylar Washington to make it 38-14. However, they came into the second half a little slower, managing a little over 35.5 percent from the field.
The Lynx completed nearly half of their shots in the third and fourth quarters, and threatened to make it a single-digit game in the fourth quarter.
“We can’t let up no matter what the score is,” Folsom said. “If we go into the locker room up 24, they’re not going to give up. We got to recognize that. We’re a young squad, so we need to keep the intensity level high throughout the game.”
Ultimately, the defensive effort and control of the ball, with the team allowing 15 total turnovers against the Lynx’ 19 throughout the game, allowed the Lady Ravens to safely expire time and finish with a double-digit win.
“It was great. I thought we came out in the first half with a lot of energy,” Folsom said. “I thought we really set the tone with our defensive play. We executed well.”
The Lady Ravens, 3-0, continue their home stand at the Holiday Inn Express Classic against Southwestern Christian University at 3 p.m. Saturday and Missouri Valley College at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Lynx fell to 0-2 and move on to Mid-America Nazarene at 1 p.m. Saturday in Atchison.