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story.lead_photo.caption Photo courtesy of JBU Sports Information John Brown point guard Sara Williams looks for a shot during the second half of last Saturday's game against Crowley's Ridge College.

John Brown's women's basketball team battled through some first-game struggles before pulling away for a 65-42 win against Crowley's Ridge College on Saturday afternoon in front of a big crowd at Bill George Arena.

Normally a dangerous shooting team on their home floor, the Golden Eagles (1-0) shot just 26.5 percent (9 of 34) from the field in the first half with 13 turnovers and held a slim 24-22 edge on the Pioneers at halftime.

John Brown 65, Crowley’s Ridge 42

Crowley’s Ridge^12^10^10^10^—^42

John Brown^9^15^16^25^—^65

Crowley’s Ridge (0-2): Taylor 10, Mauldin 8, Chambers 8, Burrell 7, Brandon 4, Anuu 3, Cunningham 2.

John Brown (1-0): Chandra 22, Cameron 13, Williams 12, Martin 7, Fergen 5, Nelson 4, Lawson 2.

Things were better in the second half as the Golden Eagles heated up to shoot 53.3 percent (16 of 30) overall and outscored Crowley's Ridge 41-20 over the final two quarters.

"I think this team is still trying to figure out its identity," said head coach Jeff Soderquist. "We've kind of had an identity the last three years as one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the nation and all that. As we grow, we're different and we've got to figure out what our identity is. That doesn't mean we're not good 3-point shooters. This team's got to take a different identity and figure out who we are."

Crowley's Ridge packed the lane and tried to make JBU hurt them from the outside, which would have been thought of as a risky game plan based on JBU's 3-point shooting history.

But the Golden Eagles only hit 7 of 27 shots (25.9 percent) from behind the 3-point line, including just 3 of 15 (20 percent) in the first half.

"I think Crowley's had a good game plan," Soderquist said. "They were going to make it hard for us to score inside. They were going to make us hit shots from the outside. We couldn't, early especially. But sometimes you have to win one of these. And we got good shots too."

The Pioneers briefly took a 25-24 lead at the start of the third quarter after a 3-pointer from Elly Burrell, but JBU senior Baily Cameron answered with an old-fashioned three-point play on the other end to get the lead back and the Golden Eagles wouldn't trail again.

Senior Karina Chandra followed with a 3-pointer in transition and then another bucket, and sophomore Taylor Fergen scored in transition for a 34-25 lead.

Crowley's Ridge got back within 34-30 in the third quarter, but a basket by junior Jordan Martin and a pair of field goals from freshman Kayla Nelson got the JBU lead back up to 40-32 entering the fourth quarter.

The Golden Eagles blew open the game in the fourth quarter by outscoring Crowley's Ridge 25-10 in the period.

Chandra connected on a 3-pointer in front of the JBU bench, and Sara Williams splashed a trey in the opposite corner for a 48-34 lead.

Another Chandra 3-pointer later in the fourth gave JBU a 61-42 lead, and Williams added a late steal and score as she scored nine of her 12 points in the fourth.

Chandra had 15 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, and she hit 4 of 5 from behind the 3-point line. Cameron, JBU's returning All-American, scored 13 points to go with 10 rebounds.

"I thought the second half we did a better job with our motion and moving (the ball), especially there in the fourth quarter," Soderquist said. "I thought we did a good job, and our defense caused some offense. We got some turnovers, got some layups and that got us going a little bit."

Soderquist was pleased with the Golden Eagles' defensive effort, holding the Pioneers to 22 points in the first half and just 20 in the second.

Alexus Taylor led Crowley's Ridge (0-2) with 10 points.

"We're just trying to find our rhythm a little bit," Crowley's Ridge coach Tye Clothier said. "We've got four seniors, but we played a lot of freshmen tonight. They're still trying to find their spots between high school and college. We normally push the ball and we tried something different. It did work. I left a few girls in there maybe 30 to 45 seconds too long and (JBU) got on a little bit of a run. I probably should have rotated them out a little bit faster."

The two teams will see each other again this week as John Brown is scheduled to make the trek across the state to Paragould in Northeast Arkansas at 6 p.m. Thursday.

"They probably think they can beat us so we've got to do well," Soderquist said.

John Brown 65, Crowley's Ridge 42

Crowley's Ridge^12^10^10^10^--^42

John Brown^9^15^16^25^--^65

Crowley's Ridge (0-2): Taylor 10, Mauldin 8, Chambers 8, Burrell 7, Brandon 4, Anuu 3, Cunningham 2.

John Brown (1-0): Chandra 22, Cameron 13, Williams 12, Martin 7, Fergen 5, Nelson 4, Lawson 2.

Sports on 11/07/2018

Print Headline: JBU women push through struggles

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