LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Lady Raider defense caused yet another dreadful offensive performance. The Three Rivers women's basketball team held Arkansas Baptist to 28 percent shooting as the Raiders won 62- 52 Monday. It was the Buffaloes second-worst shooting performance of the season and second-lowest scoring game. Only Southwest Tennessee held them to lower totals. Arkansas Baptist was also 29.6 percent on 3-pointers and 25 percent on free throws, both below season averages. Three Rivers (6-2) struggled offensively as well, but the defense traveled well enough to make the difference. "It's a very, very hard place to play. They constantly pressure you," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. "Our field goal percentage wasn't as good as we would like it to be, but when you win down there, you take it and have a good Thanksgiving." Sixty-two points is the Raiders' fewest so far this season. They shot 35.9 percent from the field and 17.6 percent on 3-pointers, both were their second worst percentages this season. They also made 48.1 percent of their free throws, their worst day at the foul line this season. Turnovers were up, steals were down, but the defense did enough. The Lady Raiders allowed one field goal in the final six minutes of the first half and turned a three-point deficit into an eight-point lead at the buzzer. They forced five turnovers during the stretch and Arkansas Baptist (1-6) was 1 for 10 shooting and missed its final eight shots of the half.
Lakeita Chappel put Three Rivers ahead near the 5 minute mark with a layup through a foul. She missed the free throw, but had a three-point play a minute later. Markeia Porter and Catera Sawyers added buckets and Earlean Davis scored in the final minute to put Three Rivers ahead 32-24 and set the halftime score. The Lady Raiders never trailed in the second half and took their first double-digit lead on a 3 by Hailee Erickson midway through the third quarter. Arkansas Baptist quickly cut the lead to four points, but the Lady Raiders countered with six unanswered points within a minute. The Buffaloes didn't score a point for 5 minutes at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth and never got within six points again. Porter led the Lady Raiders with 15 points off the bench. She was 6 for 11 shooting, 3 for 4 on free throws and was a rebound shy of a double double. "Markeia made the shots around the basket that she has been struggling with all year long," Walk said. "That was a great thing to see last night." She and Sawyers, who was 3 for 5 shooting for seven points, were the only players for either team to shoot better than 50 percent. Sydni Williams had her third double-double of the season for the Three Rivers with 12 points and 12 rebounds. She had six of Three Rivers' 17 offensive rebounds. Erickson added 11 points and Chappel had 10. Arkansas Baptist was led offensively by Essence Johnson. She was the only Lady Buffalo in double figures with 21 points, but it took her 21 shots to get there. Johnson finished 8 for 21 shooting (38 percent) and added 11 rebounds, five blocks, three steals and three assists to lead the team in all five categories. She took 10 3-pointers and no other Lady Buffalo even attempted 10 total field goals. "We wanted to make sure she caught it as far away from the basket as possible because she can play, and we tried to attack her on offense to get her in a little bit of foul trouble," Walk said. A quarter of the way into the schedule, the Lady Raiders are sixth in the country in blocks per game (6.1). They are also 29th in steals (14.5) and 27th in opponents' field goal percentage (32.9) after a busy start with eight games in the first three weeks of the season. Three Rivers won't play again until traveling to Lindenwood-Belleville JV on Nov. 28. Then they will have three straight home games during the first week of December and won't play at the Bess Activity Center again until Jan. 27.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic