DYERSBURG, Tenn. — The Lady Raiders came into Monday night's game against Dyersburg State averaging eight made 3-pointers per game. They made two but still won by double digits. Leading by three early in the third quarter, the Lady Raiders mustered an 18-5 run to take control of the game, winning 83-63 on the road. Three Rivers handed the Lady Eagles (4-1) their first loss and forced held them below 75 points for the first time this season. If coach Jeff Walk would've heard the team would win a game by 20 while shooting below 12 percent from 3-point range, he wouldn't have believed it. "I would've laughed," Walk said. The Lady Raiders briefly got hot in the second quarter when a 10-0 run gave them a 31-17 lead at the 7:19 mark. Freshman J'Kayla Fowler found her way inside for a layup to jumpstart the run. A few sequences later, Fowler pulled down one of Three Rivers' 27 offensive rebounds and dished to freshman Deanay Watson for two more. Watson came up with a steal on the next possession and turned it into an easy layup, forcing a Dyersburg State timeout. For Three Rivers, finding different ways to win can be crucial later in the season. "It'll be huge for us when regional play gets here because they won't let us shoot all those 3s," Walk said.
The hosts got back within striking distance with their own 9-0 run, trimming the Lady Raider lead to three. Derinisha Taylor scored drew a foul and still put home a layup, hitting the ensuing free throw for an and-1. Kira Lowery and Oreona Brown brought the Lady Eagles within five, each coming up with a steal and score. "We had a 12-point lead late with about 40 seconds to go in the half and we turned the ball over three straight times and they cut it to six by halftime," Walk said. Three Rivers (4-2) responded with their gameclinching run. Freshman Jordan Little knocked down the first triple for Three Rivers at the 8:35 mark of the third quarter. Sophomore Hailee Erickson picked Miyah Ursery's pocket, and Fowler scored inside. Little earned her own steal and score to push the lead back to double digits, and Dyersburg State never cut it to single digits for the remainder of the game. The run continued when a steal from Kimberly Shaw led to a quick layup from Erickson in transition for two more. Back-to-back layups from Watson pushed the lead to 14. "(The run) was huge," Walk said. "We were getting out and getting easy shots at the rim. (Early), we were getting shots at the basket. The things just weren't going in." Freshman Hannah Thurmon made the second and final 3 for Three Rivers with 5:02 left in the third courtesy of an assist from Little. A offensive rebound and putback from Shaw finished off the run. By the end of the third, the Lady Raiders outscored the Lady Eagles 24-10, holding them to 15 percent shooting in the period. Three Rivers stretched its lead to 25 points several times in the fourth quarter on the way to a 20-point win. All four of the team's wins have come by 20 or more points so far this season. Four Lady Raiders scored in double figures. Watson led all players with 18 points, adding 10 rebounds to secure her third double double of the season and push her averages to 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Shaw and Little each added 14 points, while Erickson scored a dozen in her gamehigh 33 minutes. Thurmon pulled down 13 rebounds and was a point shy of a double double with 9. The effort on the offensive glass gave the Lady Raiders a big boost. They finished with an 18 to six advantage on second chance points. After playing three games in four days, the Lady Raiders will be off until 1 p.m. Saturday when they visit John A. Logan.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic