Blossoms get GAC season started off on right foot
For a team picked to finish next-to-last in this year’s Great American Conference, the University of Arkansas at Monticello sure didn’t begin the conference season that way.
The Cotton Blossoms ripped Oklahoma Baptist University 74-66 last Thursday before falling by only 10 points, 59-49 on the road at Southern Nazarene University on Saturday.
The split gives UAM a 1-1 early conference record and a 2-2 overall mark. Head coach Tanya Ray is no doubt looking for more of the same in UAM’s next two outings.
The Blossom visited old Gulf South Conference foe Christian Brothers (Tenn.) University on Tuesday (because of early holiday deadlines, the Advance-Monticellonian was not able to report on that game) before opening at home against Paul Quinn (Texas) College at 4 p.m. Saturday at Steelman Field House.
Then, just like their male counterparts, it’s back to the GAC grind. UAM will welcome Southeastern Oklahoma State University at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30 before playing East Central University at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.
At Shawnee, Okla last Thursday, UAM jumped out to a lead after the first quarter and was pretty much in control the whole night, especially after outscoring the Lady Bison 20-14 in the third period. Senior Brittnee Broadway led UAM in scoring with a game-high 28 points while newcomer Idalis Rubalcava, a junior college transfer from California, added 12 points.
Broadway was 10 of 14 from the field, made her only three-point shot and was 7 of 9 at the free-throw line to get her last GAC season off to a rousing start. As a team, UAM shot 56.6 percent from the field but only 45 percent from the charity stripe. Outscoring Oklahoma Baptist 452-28 in the paint help make up for the deficiency at the line.
Against Southern Nazarene, a poor third quarter doomed UAM. The Blossoms were a head 32-20 at intermission, but the Crimson Storm reversed that with a 25-7 explosion in the third quarter from which UAM could not recover.
Senior Taylor Collins led the Blossoms at Bethany, Okla. with 13 points, and Broadway and junior college transfer Chari Swift chipped in with 10 apiece. SNU limited its visitors to 20 less points in the paint than UAM scored just two days earlier, and scored 19 points off 18 Blossom turnovers.