Claremore Daily Progress

November 24, 2012

McKendree edges No. 8 Lady 'Cats, 79-70


FORT SMITH, Ark. — No. 8 Rogers State, despite shooting nearly 50 percent from 3-point range, couldn’t top McKendree Friday evening from the Stubblefield Center.  The Hillcats fell 79-70 to the Bearcats in the first game of the Lady Lions Thanksgiving Classic on the campus of the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.

McKendree controlled most of the first half but never led by more than seven as RSU tied the Bearcats four times in the first stanza. Adrianna Leatherbury’s layup off a Kelby Fritz dish tied the score at 35-35 with 45 seconds prior to the intermission.

Coach Roxanne Long’s squad quickly gained the lead out of the break going ahead by two points but the squad from Lebanon, Ill. built a 14 point advantage just six and a half minutes into the second period.

Rician Walker drove down the right side of the lane and dropped a pass to Larrielle Giles who laid it high off the glass to trim the Bearcat advantage to just 60-56 with 6:59 remaining. Less than a minute later Sierra Cornwell followed the path laid by Walker down the lane but Giles layup was too strong.

The Hillcats were able to trim the deficit to three points twice with less than three minutes remaining but McKendree was able to break the full court pressure of RSU and hold onto a 79-70 victory.

The loss stymied the Hillcats run for the best start in program history as RSU matched the start of the 2009-10 squad that went 5-0.

RSU turned the ball over 22 times resulting in 13 McKendree steals. RSU shot 47.4 percent from behind the arc knocking down 72.2 percent from the charity stripe. The Bearcats connected on just 6-of-25 from 3-point range but hit 80.6 from the free throw line. McKendree committed just 13 turnovers.

Adrianna Leatherbury recorded her first double-double as a Hillcat finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds, both season highs for the transfer from El Paso, Texas. Leah Smith led RSU in scoring with 19 points connecting on 3-of-8 from long distance.

Caty Ponce led all scorers finishing with 29 points, 17 coming in the second period. McKendree (2-2) had three others score in double figures including Shelby Woelfel. The Bearcat forward recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Rogers State (5-1) will face the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith at 4 p.m. today in day two action of the Lady Lions Thanksgiving Classic. The game will be broadcast on RSU Radio 91.3FM and streaming online at and the Hillcat Network