Louisiana 58 Lamar 66
The first day of the World Vision Classic featured a close match and a blowout.
Lamar and Louisiana-Lafayette kicked off the Baylor-hosted tournament in Waco in a tumultuous game with several lead changes and nine ties.
For most of the first half, the teams traded baskets. Louisiana’s Mercedes Johnson led all scorers at the break with 15 points. The sophomore forward from Houston also had seven rebounds.
Point guard Jenna Plumley (pictured right), a transfer from Oklahoma who redshirted last season, paced Lamar with six points. Before arriving at Lamar, Plumley started all 31 games for the Sooners in 2007-08, averaging 7.8 points and 3.3 assists per game in a season when Oklahoma advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
In the second period, Louisiana came out strong and built a six point lead. Five minutes into the half, Lamar began to fight back and in a 12-5 run took the lead with 10 minutes left on the clock.
“I thought we played good for 32 minutes but over the last eight minutes [Lamar} really kicked up the intensity level,” said Louisiana head coach Errol Rogers. “I thought we had all the momentum but we missed a ton of shots early in the second half.”
The Lady Cardinals maintained the lead earning a 66-58 victory, an “ugly” win according to Lamar head coach Larry Tidwell.
Louisiana faces Baylor at noon on Saturday in the round-robin tournament. Lamar and Idaho tip off at 2:30 p.m.
Baylor 82 Idaho 37
While attendance for the first game of the day was sparse, Baylor fans showed up to root for their Lady Bears swelling the crowd to 6,451. Idaho, overmatched against a larger, more athletic team, started out slow letting Baylor gain an 11 point lead. The first points for the Vandals came from the shortest member of their squad, 5’3″ point guard Charlotte Otero.
There were no dunks from freshman Brittney Griner as she was tripled-teamed in the paint for most of the game. She finished with six points, five rebounds and three impressive blocks.
The attention on Griner left guard Melissa Jones a wide berth. The guard scored a career-high 23 points and had 11 rebounds. Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey attributed Jones’ scoring opportunities to the attention paid to Griner.
“Brittney Griner quietly may have been the MVP tonight,” said Mulkey. “MJ had the career-high wide open. Brittney just draws that much attention….It’s what going you’re to see.”
Jones agreed with her coach’s assessment.
“Brittney’s presence inside is kind of an intimidating factor for other teams to come against,” she said. “It draws a lot of attention to her, and it just opens up shots for all of us on the perimeter.”
Morghan Medlock added 12 for Baylor and Shanay Washington scored 10.
Bianca Cheever, a junior guard from Australia, led Idaho (0-4) with 11 points.