Lady Cats show signs of nerves in season opener
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Nov. 9, 2005 - COOPER - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats opened the season Tuesday night in a game that very much resembled a season-opener.

Sulphur Springs fell to the Cooper Bulldogettes, 47-25, in a contest that head coach Tina Carrillo hopes will help her team get over their varsity jitters.

"Part of the problem was the girls' nerves," said Carrillo. "They were very nervous before the game and in the first half, and I think that showed up in the score."

The Lady Cats return just two starters from last year: senior post Bridgette Nash and junior post Cresha Hubbard. They combined for 14 points, 19 rebounds and seven steals. Hubbard alone had 10 points and 11 rebounds, but no one else on the team scored in double figures.

"We didn't shoot well," Carrillo said. "That's it in a nutshell - I think the shots we took weren't great shots."

"I think that was the difference in the game. We had a similar number of turnovers, we didn't get beat at the free throw line, and we outrebounded them. They just took better shots than we did."

The Lady Cats made 9-of-35 shots from the field (26 percent), but grabbed 35 rebounds, compared to 24 for Cooper. The Lady Cats also recorded 19 steals from their pressure defense.

Along with Hubbard's 11 rebounds, Nash had eight, sophomore Stephanie Connally and senior Whitney Jordan had five each. Nash and junior guard Emily Bouyear led the team in steals with four each, while Jordan, Hubbard and senior Kaytlin Black had three apiece, and freshman McKenzie Cross added two.

But, Cooper received a balanced scoring attack with all nine players registering points, led by nine points and five boards from center Saquoia Morris. Guard Megan Walker also scored nine points.

Sulphur Springs took a 2-0 lead two minutes into the game on Jordan's driving lay-up from the left side, but went the next eight minutes without a bucket, falling behind 12-2 by the end of the period. Kaytlin Black hit a jumper from the right wing early in the second quarter to draw the Lady Cats to within 14-4. Hubbard added a pair of buckets and two free throws, but Cooper led at half, 26-10.

The Lady Cats' best offensive quarter was the fourth when they put up 11 points. They made a small run entering the final period when Black sank a free throw and Nash and Hubbard followed with back-to-back baskets, but the deficit was too much to chip into at that point.

Carrillo said the team will work on identifying the opposition's defense this week as they prepare for Terrell on Saturday. 

"I think we had a problem with identification," she explained. "Our guards are learning - we're not as experienced at that spot, but that's one of the positives of playing time.

"I really think their man-to-man pressure was so intense that we weren't making good passes. It was good for us to see that, because that kind of intensity is hard to duplicate in practice."

Notes: Making their varsity debuts on Tuesday were Bouyear, Connally, Cross, freshman Erica Garrett, sophomore Shardae Jones and senior Amanda Wade.

Cooper JV 39, SSHS 9

Tasha Lee scored five points for the Lady Cats, but only three SSHS players scored in the season opener. Jennifer Davis and Olivia Stribling each scored a bucket.

Davis also led the team with eight rebounds, while she, Marissa Ford and Jennifer Mitchell each recorded two steals.

Cooper Freshmen 24, SSHS 23

Cooper used a 12-point second quarter to take the lead and hold off the Lady Cat freshmen. Kayle Askins scored 12 points to lead the team, while Molly Smith added six, Jaime Askins three and Brittany Couch two.

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