KIOWA — Stuart’s athletic guards helped stifle Kiowa’s offense and limit the Cowgirls to just one 3-pointer in the first half of Tuesday’s game.
Low on energy by the third quarter, the Lady Hornets could only watch Addy Clift and the Cowgirls turn a nail-biter into a blowout.
Clift scored 42 points, and the Cowgirls used an explosive third quarter to seize control of and then win Tuesday’s season-opener at home, 74-56.
“It was kind of a wild game,” Kiowa coach Wade Daniel said. “Stuart played very well, very hard. They executed and came at us and wanted to beat us, and we have to respond to those things.”
Stuart leading scorer Kayla Smith tied the game 31-31 in the final minute of the first half, but Clift hit a 3-pointer from well behind the line to give the Cowgirls a 34-31 lead heading into halftime. Up just 43-41 midway through the third, Clift began an 11-2 Kiowa run with a steal she quickly turned into a layup and a 45-41 lead.
Stuart lost its next two possessions on turnovers, and in between Clift hit a jumper to push the lead to 47-41. Smith cut the deficit to 4 with two free throws, but Clift knocked down a 3-pointer, then Lily Daniel tipped in an offensive rebound.
Erin Foris turned a steal into a fastbreak layup with two seconds left in the third to make it 54-43 Cowgirls, then Clift opened the fourth with another 3-pointer to push the lead to 57-43. Of Clift’s 42 points, 23 came in the second half.
“They played really good defense at first, and then I realized they started backing up a little bit, and I could shoot or dish off,” Clift said.
“At first, we were a little bit frazzled, I think. It ended up being good. I think that’s how first games always are.”