Dateline: Dunwoody, Ga. – On Friday evening the Lady Cougars ventured into the lair of GISA rival Brandon Hall in the final non-Conference tune up before kicking off league play this week. “We knew that this game presented challenging match ups, as the Lady Panthers reloaded over the summer, adding two high level players – Turkish national Urkmez and hard charging guard Moore. Additionally, we needed to delve deeper into our bench, as on top of injuries to our post players, Julia Baumohl would be absent for a college visit.” explained Coach Cutchin. “However, the game offers the opportunity for ‘iron to sharpen iron,’ as we could execute against a talented and accomplished squad.”
The game began with the Cougars invoking the highly controversial four guard line-up. The home town athletes began the game with a withering assault, as both of their big guns rang up 12 points apiece en route to building a 26 – 2 lead. Maria Knezek retaliated with a pair of free throws to get her team on the board. The Brandon Hall full court press and smooth offensive execution spelled the difference during the first frame.
Second quarter adjustments allowed Cottage to narrow the gap over the next sight minutes. The Lady Cougars pumped in 8 points for the quarter, led by two scores by Emily Daugherty, while dialing back the Panther attack.
During the second half, Brandon Hall’s Moore provided their offensive boost, while Urkmez hit the boards hard to prevent Cottage from creeping back into the game. At the final buzzer Brandon Hall claimed a 69 – 19 lead.
Freshman Tracy Li took advantage of her first starting assignment of her TCS career. Li ran the triangle on the offensive end, while pulling down 3 rebounds. Li did not back down from the physical challenge of squaring up against Urkmez, at times provoking visible signs of frustration on the part of the veteran post player.
Guard Alex Nebel found herself pressed into service as a post player to start the game, and showed off her versatility by playing every positon on the court by the game’s conclusion. Nebel hit the boards for 6 rebounds, recorded an assist, and also scored 2 points.
Natalia Hoeve also gained the starting nod for the first time this season. Hoeve took on the unenviable task of defending the high scoring Brandon Hall backcourt from the perimeter. Hoeve pulled in a rebound, came up with a couple of loose balls, and got whistled up for 4 fouls.
Brandy Michelle Finnell and Emily Daugherty took on the role of the “dynamic duo,” providing a powerful punch off the bench. Finnell led the way offensively, pumping in 7 points for her team. She also fought her way to 9 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 assist. In similar fashion, Daugherty used the angles around the basket to ring up 6 points, while also hauling down 9 rebounds.
Findley Love, Maxine Moore, Hannah Katz, and Analin Merchant also provided relief from the bench. Moore returned to the hardwoods for the first time this season, as she received clearance for her knee injury. Merchant held down the post positon, while Katz filled in for backcourt relief. For the second straight game Love snuck in for an offensive rebound. Love also added a steal to her stat line.
Natalie Yager and Maria Knezek again provided veteran leadership from the backcourt. Yager check in with an unusually low number of minutes as a severe cold clearly hampered her efforts. Nevertheless, Yager managed to bring down 3 rebounds, passed for an assist, and gained a steal. Knezek scored 4 points, continued her thieving ways with 5 steals, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist.
The team takes to the road to open their AAC schedule on Thursday afternoon, with a 4:30 tip off at Atlanta Area School.