By Jeremy Stafford - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Wins generally come easily when the opponent can't run. Or at least that's how it went on Sunday, when Shenandoah outgunned Meredith 79-45 in a fleet-versus-futile USA South contest.
The Hornets (9-7, 5-5 USA South), led by the nimble Katherine Flint, flexed their speed, depth and defensive anticipation, and by halfitme Meredith (5-9, 4-5 USA South) couldn't keep up.
"I feel like we can run on anyone, especially on [Meredith] because they're a lot slower than we were," Flint said, "and I think our transition really helped us in our offense."
To be fair, Meredith was without two key players due to injury.
Flint scored a team-high 13 points and was followed closely by three other Hornets who scored in double-digits: Amy Rhoderick (12), Alexis Hargbol (11) and Stephanie Holton (10).
"I think [when] we come out really fast and running on them it's hard for them to come back from that, because we're a fast team to start off with," Holton said. "If we actually do that, it really gets us into the game and we're hard to compete against."
Sunday afternoon was Holton's first start of the season, as Hornets coach Michelle Guyant-Holloway said the play of the Hornets' bench in recent games has given her the flexibility to toy around with the starting lineup. Nicole Gilbertson also earned her first start, while Mandy Johnston and Sierra Edwards, normally starters, were the first off the bench for SU.
"With Nicole and Stephanie moving into the lineup, [it] gave us a little bit more athleticism at the beginning of the game, which ... I think helps us defensively," Guyant-Holloway said.
And that defensive presence was felt almost immediately.
Shenandoah forced 26 Meredith turnovers, off which the Hornets scored 24 points. Meredith guard Brittany Cornelius and forward Megan Rahn, despite leading the Angels with nine and 12 points, respectively, both committed more turnovers (six, seven) than they scored field goals (five, three).
The Angels were just as morbid scoring, converting only 24.6 percent of their shots.
"I just felt like their offense wasn't really fluent and we were able to pick [off their passes]," Flint said. "They did telegraph some passes, but their passes weren't really on point."
After getting off to a sluggish start -- Shenandoah began the game shooting 1-for-10 from the field -- the Hornets took off on a 17-0 run that lasted more than seven minutes.
By the time the game reached the 14:53 mark in the second half, Shenandoah had rattled off a 21-for-34 shooting performance to swell their percentage from the floor to a robust 50 percent. With Meredith hardly able to keep their legs underneath them in the closing minutes, Shenandoah finished the contest on a 20-2 run.
Shenandoah scored 48 points in the paint and got 30 points from its bench. The Hornets' next game is at home on Feb. 2 against N.C. Wesleyan, which sits winless at the bottom of the conference.