Smith and Beck each knocked down two 3-pointers in Stuart’s 15-2 start to the third quarter, and Megan Jernigen knocked down one. Smith led the game with 26 points.
“I didn’t change my shot,” Smith said. “They just gave me a little bit more space the second half. ... I was really looking for like layups and stuff like that tonight, and then it just happened. I just started shooting and they just fell in.”
Beck’s second 3-pointer of the third made it 45-15, then a steal led to a layup from Megan Jernigen and a 48-15 lead. Stuart finished the third quarter up 57-20.
Because of their inexperience, the Lady Cougars couldn’t do much more than single baskets in the midst of long-scoring runs by the Lady Hornets. The height of forwards Fairchilds and Michelle Greco gave Canadian some strength in the post, but Stuart neutralized Canadian’s height disadvantage by pressuring Canadian’s unconfident guards.
That same lack of confidence showed up whenever a ball came loose to the court. The Lady Hornets sprinted, dove and fought for every deflection or long rebound, always looking a step ahead of the Lady Cougars.
“We really, really stress hustle,” Smith said. “Any time that you see a loose ball on the ground, Megan, Chasity or McKay are going to be there to pick it up.”
The Lady Cougars scored 4 points in a row only twice in the game: a layup by Fairchilds followed by a steal and fastbreak basket by Elisabeth Willis in the first, and back-to-back layups by Fairchilds early in the fourth.
Fairchilds scored 18 for the Lady Cougars. Following her 4 points in the fourth, Beck knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, drawing a foul on the second and sinking the free throw to make it 64-24 Lady Hornets.