The Old Dominion University women’s basketball team walloped Delaware State in a 97-67 blowout victory on Saturday afternoon at the Ted Constant Center. Stephanie Gardner and Shae Kelley scored in double figures in both teams’ regular season opener.
Gardner led all scorers and set her career high for points after shooting 6-14 from the field (4-7 3PT FG) to score 21 points. Kelley contributed very productively in five categories, scoring 13 points with 12 rebounds, six assists, five steals and a pair of blocks.
The Lady Monarchs went on a 29-9 run at the end of the first half. The last 9:38 remaining saw ODU take a 25-point lead into the locker room. For the game, ODU outscored the Hornet bench, 33-7. The home team in white capitalized off Delaware State turnovers by a 16-point margin (26-10), fed themselves off second chance points (31-15) and made a bold statement on the fast-break (14-3). In the end, ODU grabbed 32 offensive rebounds and 56 total boards.
George Washington Colonials transfer Chelisa Painter contributed with 11 points and nine rebounds. Galaisha Goodhope dished out four assists on her way to scoring 10 points. Tiffany Minor added nine points, while senior Becca Allison scored eight.
The duo of Raven Bankston and Tierra Hawkins led all Delaware State players with 18 points. The Hornets also received 11 points from Raven’s twin, Raine Bankston. Deanna Harmon muscled in 11 rebounds in addition to scoring nine points for the MEAC conference team.
For the game, ODU took 83 shots but connected on just 38.6 percent of them from the floor compared to the Hornet’s 59, good for 42.4 percent. The Lady Monarchs forced 22 turnovers, and committed just 11 turnovers. Old Dominion led the game in assists with by 21-9 margin.
After the game, Gardner spoke of her career day and what prompted her to such an offensive explosion.
“I think in any game plan, you just had to be able to take whatever the defense gives you. I think that’s one of the things that you work on as a player in the offseason is being able to do anything and being overall, that’s what I really focused on,” Gardner said. “So any team, however they play me, I’m just going to take what they give me and try to be successful at it.”
Grabbing a game-high 12 boards on the block, Kelley admitted that rebounding just comes natural to her. Saturday afternoon, at the press conference, she spoke of how that mindset lead her to muscle her way.
“Rebounding, it kind of just comes natural to me. I don’t know why but I like to jump, so I kind of find the ball and I just go get it. I think rebounding’s more heart and effort than anything else. So if I want the ball, I’m going to try to get it,” she said.
Despite the absence of starting point guard Ashley Betz-White due to injury, the Lady Monarchs are adjusting well both offensively and defensively. Saturday afternoon was a testament to that and head coach Karen Barefoot discussed how the delegated responsibility to Gardner and Kelley is nothing more than they can already handle. They are leaders who are stepping up to the plate.
“I just think that we’ve got two great captains right here. They’ve really stepped up. They’re not just leaders within themselves,” Barefoot said of her two high scorers. “They do a lot of hard things for this team for us to win but they help others lead. They help others step up, get rebounds, they talk a lot.”
“We’ll go as they’ll go because it starts with their leadership and they’ve done a tremendous job in preseason [with] setting the tone of how we want to play and what we’re trying to do. So I give them credit,” Barefoot said.
The Lady Monarchs are back in action Sun., Nov. 17 for a 2:00 p.m. tip against Radford on Girl Scout Day.
By Brian Jerry