A suffocating press allowed third-ranked Verdigris to score the game’s first 12 points and the Lady Cardinals never let up in recording a 70-34 victory over Lincoln Christian Friday night at Jack Collins Field House.
Coach Mike Buntin’s team forced 11 first period turnovers and 27 for the game as Verdigris improved to 7-1 heading into the Locust Grove Tournament on Monday. Senior guard Baileigh O’Dell led the Cards with 24 points while freshman Keara Battenfield added 18 and senior Taylor Beck pulled in 11 rebounds.
“Lincoln Christian (4-3) has a good team, but this is by far the hardest we’ve played all year,’’ said Buntin. “We pressed good early and made adjustments and they had 18 turnovers in the first half that allowed us to get out and run. I’m proud of the effort and intensity we displayed.’’
Verdigris opened a 22-4 lead after one period and scored 18 straight points in the second quarter to build a 44-9 bulge at intermission. The Cardinals used a variety of defenses and pounded the Bulldogs on the boards, permitted few quality shots.
Lincoln Christian began the second half more aggressively behind junior Abigail Scott, who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, but the Cards finally put the hammer down and led 59-18 on O’Dell’s steal and layup late in the third period.
Verdigris eventually led 70-23 before clearing the bench and allowing the Bulldogs to score the game’s final 11 points.
The Cardinals face Chouteau on Monday at 4:30 in the first round in the Locust Grove Tournament.