Smith-Cotton outscored Center 22-3 in the third quarter and pulled away for a 63-41 win in West Central Conference play on Friday at Smith-Cotton.
“We just slowed down and ran our offense like we’re supposed to,” said Lady Tigers guard Tayler Gero.
The Lady Tigers hit 7 of their first 9 shots of the quarter, capped off by Jack Greer 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to make it 44-21. Greer finished with nine points in that quarter alone and 16 for the game.
“(Thursday) in practice we worked on a lot of the shots we were going to get,” she said. “I think that really helped.”
Also helping the second half surge were 12 Lady Yellowjacket turnovers, nine in the third quarter alone with many of them coming from Smith-Cotton’s press.
“We’re getting out and pressuring and that’s our backbone,” Gero said. “Coach (Zach) Vandevender really works us on our defense and that’s our strongest point.”
Early in the third quarter Smith-Cotton led 27-21 when Abby Knight drove to the basket to make it 29-21. After Gero got a steal on the other end she fed Greer who was fouled and made her second free throw. Megan Lollis then stole the inbounds pass and fed Gero for a layup. That was part of a 17-0 run.
“We came out and played really good defense, help them to three points in the quarter,” Vandevender said. “I preach defense all year and that got some transition buckets and then we were knocking down some shots from the outside.”
The Lady Tigers also had luck driving the lane with three of their baskets in the first quarter coming off penetration in the half-court set. Even when they weren’t getting those baskets, they were getting to the free throw line, hitting 19 of 23 free throws in the game.
“We spread the floor so we could attack,” Vandevender said.
Three Lady Tigers scored in double figures led by Greer’s 16. Elena Sharp added 15 — scoring eight in the first quarter — and Gero scored 12 — all in the second half.
Smith-Cotton is 7-6 overall, 2-1 in the WCC. The Lady Tigers host Marshall at 7:30 p.m. on Monday