(Photos by Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
Milligan College’s women picked up the pace in the second half and ran past Montreat 83-66 on Wednesday night at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
Down 37-34 at halftime, the Lady Buffs (11-7, 7-3) pulled ahead 41-38 on a 3-pointer by Callie Cox. The Lady Buffs trailed only once more after that, taking the lead for good a on pair of Hayley Wyrick free throws with 14:41 left.
“That was our intent in the second half, to speed the game up, and I felt we did a really good job of that,” Milligan coach Rich Aubrey said. “Once we got the game in our tempo, we played better in the half-court too. That’s something hard to explain, but we became a better half-court team once we picked up the tempo.”
The pace definitely suited Kayla Kelly who ended with a 21-point performance. It was her third straight game over 20 points.
“Confidence,” she replied when asked what’s been the key behind her improved scoring. “It’s my senior year. I realize that and I want to make the most of it. If it’s getting points, I’m cool with that. But, we just seem to be rolling a little better.”
That was true in the final 20 minutes of Wednesday’s game.
The Lady Buffs had no answer for Montreat’s Alexandria Gellman in the first half. Gellman, a 6-foot-2 post, was 7 of 10 from the field and ended with 16 points.
She managed to score 12 more in the second half for a game-high 28 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists. However, the Lady Buffs made her run up and down the floor and work for those numbers instead of simply posting up with her back to the basket.
“We knew we were undersized, so we had to be more aggressive and attack more on defense as well as offense,” Kelly said. “We knew we had been down worse, so we came out with a new attitude and everybody stepped it up.”
That included Wyrick with 17 points, and Allison Jones with 14 points. Former Hampton High School standout Chelsey Weddle also finished in double figures with a dozen points.
Making the most of opportunities at the free-throw line, the Lady Buffs made 21 of 24 attempts.
For Montreat (9-9, 5-5), Kim Henderson was the only other Lady Cavalier in double figures with 14 points.