The Richmond Register

November 18, 2012

OVC HOOPS: Lady Colonels jump out to early lead, roll past UNCA

By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor

RICHMOND — Alex Jones has never really had a problem finding the basket during her outstanding career at EKU.

Still, in the opening two games of this season, the senior forward had struggled to get on track offensively. She missed all 15 of her field goal attempts in wins over Miami (Ohio) and Kent State and had scored a total of three points.

“With Alex, she does so many other things,” EKU coach Chrissy Roberts said. “Even if her shot is not falling, she’s rebounding and she’s defending and getting stops. She’s an all-conference performer. She’s just got to keep shooting it.”

Jones snapped out of that early-season slump Saturday against UNC-Asheville. The senior forward scored 10 points and added six rebounds, three blocks and two assists as EKU rolled to a 67-47 win at McBrayer Arena. The Lady Colonels scored the first 13 points of the game and had a 22-3 lead just seven minutes into the first half.

Jones connected on her first field-goal attempt, which helped start the big game-opening run, and finished three-of-seven from the field and four-of-five from the free throw line.

The Elizabethtown native moved into 19th place on the school’s all-time scoring list (1,029) during the win, passing Candace Findley as the Lady Colonels moved to 3-0 first time since the 2007-2008 season.

“It felt good,” Jones said. “I guess that’s not like me to not (have a basket) for two games. It was good to finally get one.”

The Lady Colonels wrapped up a season-opening three-game homestand with a dominant performance.

Brittany Coles had a team-high 15 points and Jade Barber added 12 points and eight rebounds as Lady Colonels shot 57 percent in the first half. EKU led by 31 points just before halftime and carried a 41-19 lead into the break.

“We wanted to set the tone and the tempo early,” Robert said.

The Lady Colonels did just that.

Barber led the charge early on, scoring six points as EKU took a 10-0 lead just 3:10 into the game. Coles hit a three pointer moments later to push the lead to 13-0.

From that point on, the Lady Colonels were in complete control.

“We just went out there and played the way we know how to play,” Jones said. “We came out strong and we tried to stay strong the whole game. We just went out and executed.”

The Lady Colonels used 12 players in the first half and nine scored. EKU had 12 points off the bench in the first half and limited UNC-Asheville to 29 percent shooting. The Bulldogs missed 12 of their first 13 shots of the game, while the Lady Colonels shot 57 percent (16-of-28) in the opening half.

Barber had eight points and six rebounds by halftime, even though she played just nine minutes. Jalisa Bryant all eight of her points off the bench in the first half.

“Everyone is stepping up and we are playing real well as a team,” Jones said. “We are making the extra pass. We are doing a lot of the extra things.”

The Bulldogs close the first half on an 11-2 run, but never got within 20 points in the second half.

Raechele Gray finished with four points and a team-high five assists for EKU. Alexus Cooper had five points, while Miranda Maples and Shelly Harper had four points each.

Coles was six-of-seven from the field and four steals and three assists.

The Lady Colonels will have six days off before they head to Puerto Rico to open play in the San Juan Shootout. EKU will take on Florida State on Friday, then will face Milwaukee next Sunday (Nov. 25).

“We are 3-0. It’s a great confidence builder to get those wins,” Roberts said. “We are going to try to go down there and get two wins.”