WARNER—Connors State Cowgirls overcame first half mistakes and tightened its defensive play in the second half to blast Southern Arkansas Tech 53-31 in the Cowgirls Classic at Melvin Self Field House Friday.
In the opening game of the Classic Murray State (5-5) pummeled Arkansas Baptist 101-51. Murray State will take on Southern Arkansas Tech (0-7) at 1 p.m., and Connors (11-2) goes against Arkansas Baptist (2-11) at 3 p.m.
Arkansas Baptist defeated the Cowgirls in November in Little Rock, 67-48.
The Cowgirls who had 16 turnovers in the first 20 minutes cut the miscues to three in the final half and that according to Coach Jamie Fisher, along with their tenacious defensive play was the difference.
"The big thing for us was our defense, we really preach that here," said Fisher. "Anytime you hold a team to 31 points, I don't care who you play, whither it's a jayvee team or junior college team that's just excellent team defense."
Cowgirls scored six unanswered points late in the second quarter to take a 10-point lead at the half 23-13.
It was all Connors the rest of the way as they opened the second half with an 8-0 run to grab a 31-13 advantage.
Connors held the Rockets scoreless in the final 7:44 of the second period.
It was a sloppy first half of play as turnovers and traveling calls dominated the first half action.
The two clubs battled to a 9-9 deadlock at the end of the first quarter. Back-to-back treys by Jasmyn Taylor put the Cowgirls back on top 15-9 entering the second quarter. The Cowgirls drained six threes in the first half and finished with eight in the game.
Connors now gets a chance to avenger an early season loss to Arkansas Baptist.
"We are a totally different team from that early game with Arkansas Baptist," said Fisher.
"In the first game with Baptist we didn't play any defense. We talked about that and are looking forward to the rematch," said Fisher.
Connors State 53, Southern Arkansas Tech 31
Southern Arkansas Tech 9 4 7 11--31
Connors State 9 14 17 13—53
Southern Arkansas Tech (0-7)—Smith 12, Williams 6, Gordon 5, Haygood 5.
Connors State (11-2)—L. Wright 16, Reid 10, Taylor 6, Livers 6, Crain 5, Jones 4, Ka. Wright 3, Gonzalez 2, Maxwell 1.
Murray State 101, Arkansas Baptist 51
Murray State 19 28 30 24—101
Arkansas Baptist 16 4 18 13—51
Murray State (5-5)—Stewart 17, Hansen 16, Noscimento 13, Ingram 13, Mapp 10, Smith 8, Classon 7, M. Smith 7, Roberson 6, Kaickonen 2, Donmeza 2.
Arkansas Baptist (2-11)—Walker 24, Stern 10, Roach 8, Bynum 4, Brice 3, Knighten 2.