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Commanderettes on winning streak for first time this season

By John Overby

Last week, the WC Commanderettes were able to string together back-to-back wins for the first time this season, improving to 5-15 on the year.

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Campbellsville
In a 54-44 win against the Campbellsville Lady Eagles last Thursday night, the Commanderettes were able to build a 9-4 lead halfway through the first quarter and built it up to 15-9 by the end of the period.

With a lopsided 49-25 victory over Campbellsville just 10 days earlier, any expectations of a blowout win for WC were subdued when the Lady Eagles kept pace in the second quarter, only trailing by 10 going into the locker room.

For Head Coach Bernard Smalley, the biggest difference in this matchup was WC’s defense.

“Offensively, we played well in that first half, I thought,” Smalley said, “but defensively, their guards gave us a lot of trouble. We were slacking a little bit in that area throughout the whole game, really.”

The second half was characterized by a back-and-forth tempo that saw the Lady Eagles trail by no less than six and no more than 11.

And, in the end, the Commanderettes were able to clinch the 10-point win.

WC’s key to success, according to Smalley, was their size advantage with 6-foot-2-inch senior Jennifer Keene.

Keene was able to record 27 points in the game, many of which came from passes by sophomore Karagan Brizendine, who also chipped in 18 points on the night.

“Those two played well together,” Smalley said. “[Brizendine] did an excellent job of getting the ball down low, and Keene really used her size advantage when she got the ball.”

Taylor County
In their second matchup of the season with the Taylor County Lady Cardinals, the Commanderettes came away with another two-point victory, this time winning 50-48.

For Smalley, the biggest factor in the win was his team’s defensive pressure, calling it “the best effort we’ve given on that side of the floor all season.”

“I’d say for 31 of the 32 minutes, our defense was outstanding,” Smalley said. “We communicated, we only got caught up in screens a few times, it was just an all-around good defensive game for us.”

Junior Jadiesha Durham’s defensive effort stood out in particular to Smalley. On offense, Smalley pointed to sophomore Taylor Eldridge’s outside shooting threat as a catalyst for his team’s win.

“Her ability to shoot the three really opened up the inside game for us,” Smalley said. “That was big because it gave Keene a lot more space to work.”

Brizendine led all scorers with 17 points on 11-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line.

With the wins, WC improved to 4-0 against teams from Taylor County this season.

Their next game will be tomorrow night as the team travels to Thomas Nelson. After another away game at Burgin on Friday, the team will begin District 19 tournament play next week.