(ST. LOUIS, MO) At its home opener Saturday night at UMSL’s Mark Twain Center, the St. Louis Surge showed poise and control in its 84-80 victory over the Nebraska Strikers.
The topsy-turvy affair in the Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL) saw the Surge make 19 of 22 shots from the charity stripe in the final frame to collect the four-point win and improve to 4-1 on the season.
St. Louis sported an 8-2 lead two minutes into the game following back-to-back three pointers from Rebecca Harris. Then after Nebraska collected two on the next possession, the Surge posted five straight points, pushing its lead to 13-4 with 4:20 left in the quarter.
A 7-2 run for the Strikers narrowed the Surge’s lead to four points, 15-11, at the end of the first.
Nebraska notched four in the opening thirty seconds of the second to tie the score, 15-15. The Surge broke the stalemate immediately with Harris’ third three-pointer of the half and St. Louis possessed an 18-15 advantage.
The Surge extended its lead to seven, 26-19, following Leah Cotton’s bucket with 3:35 left in the half. Nebraska responded with back-to-back long shots, punctuated by Amanda Dickson’s three-pointer with 2:20 remaining, which narrowed the score to 26-24.
Scoring remained tight down the stretch and the Surge possessed a 33-30 lead at intermission.
After Nebraska whittled the lead to 36-35 in the early stages of the third quarter, St. Louis posted seven straight on its next three possessions. Sam Price hit a three-pointer, Cassie Rochel collected a put back off the rebound and Jaleesa Butler glided a layup to push the Surge’s lead to 43-35 with 6:10 left in the quarter.
Both teams traded points as the third continued. Cotton’s three-point play pushed the Surge ahead, 57-50, with under a minute left, but the Strikers’ Jasmin Corbin sunk a three-pointer in the remaining seconds to whittle St. Louis edge to 57-53 heading into the fourth quarter.
Nebraska tied the score, 57-57, thirty seconds deep into the final frame after Kristen Humphries notched a three-pointer. Corbin hit one free throw on the next possession and Nebraska flipped the scoreboard to its favor, 58-57, with 9:05 remaining.
But when it looked like they were poised for a home opener spoiler by making shots from the floor, Nebraska’s play became uneven defensively, resulting in numerous Surge players taking shots from the free throw line.
This was when St.Louis was at its best. Price, Rochel, Harris, Cotton and Raven Berry were collectively perfect (12-12) on ensuing free throws. With 4:02 left, the Surge had amassed a 73-67 lead.
But Nebraska refused to wave the white flag and, aided with a 9-5 run over the next three minutes, the Strikers tied the game, 78-78, with under a minute left.
Butler’s running lay-up with thirty seconds left broke the tie and the Surge posted a 80-78 edge. After the Strikers misfired on their next possession, they fouled Butler with :18 left. The Surge vet hit both free throw shots to push the lead to four, 82-78.
St. Louis fouled Rashea Bristol with :13 left and the Striker sunk both free throws, narrowing the Surge’s lead to 82-80.
On the ensuing inbounds, the Surge quickly sprinted up the court and Nebraska fouled Brittany Carter with 4.2 seconds left. The guard calmly converted both free throws to seal the win.
The 84-80 triumph over the Strikers netted the Surge its third consecutive victory and a first-place tie in the WBCBL Mid-West Division hierarchy. Harris paced the Surge with 18 points, followed by Cotton’s 17.
St. Louis hosts the Minnesota Black Ice at UMSL this Saturday at 7 PM. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students (with a high school/college ID) and free for children five and under. Local youth basketball teams that attend wearing their team’s uniform also get in free.
For more information on the St. Louis Surge, go to stlsurgebasketball.com.
ST. LOUIS SURGE SCORING: Rebecca Harris 18, Leah Cotton 17, Jaleesa Butler 10, Cassie Rochel 9, Sam Price 7, Brittany Carter 6, Raven Berry 5, Brianna Puni 5, Bianca Beck 1.
Watch Saturday’s game in its entirety, courtesy of the STL Surge Network, AT THIS LINK.