By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
There would be no last-second heroics needed Saturday.
Fabiana Monte needed a late basket Friday for the Lady Saints to escape an upset bid by McLennon in an 87-86 win, but on Saturday, the No. 7 Lady Saints cruised to 11-0 with a dominating 96-55 win.
Alana Simon slashed to the basket to lead the Lady Saints with 25 points, but Seward was able to exploit a height advantage inside and push the ball to the basket.
The Lady Saints led 12-8 with 14:22 to play in the first quarter after Labette’s Brittany Odom hit a three-pointer. The Lady Saints went on a 26-3 run over the next eight minutes to take a 38-11 lead. Briana Scott scored eight of her 17 points during the run, and by halftime, the Lady Saints had a 48-23 advantage.
Seward protected the lead in the second half at the free throw line with an 11-for-13 performance as well as making 58 percent of their shots in the final 20 minutes to coast to the 96-55 win.
Janel Tammen came off the bench to score 12 points and also took three charges.
“Janell was great tonight,” Seward coach Toby Wynn said. “That’s her game. She took some charges. She’s relentless in sacrificing her body. She got a couple offensive rebounds, and they found her inside. That’s a huge lift off the bench.”
Seward’s defense forced Labette into 25 turnovers, and the Lady Cardinals were only able to make 34 percent of their shots.
“It was important for us to play well tonight to finish the semester the right way,” Wynn said. “We don’t feel we’ve been very sharp on the defensive end the past two games. Our goal was to keep them under 56, and we did that tonight.”
Simons 25 led the Lady Saints. Scott scored 17, Monte had 15, Shanise Brooks scored 13, and Tammen had 12.
“We have five in double figures,” Wynn said. “The biggest thing is share the ball, play together and don’t get caught up in a one-man show, and they have bought into that.”
Seward has been able to penetrate to the basket, a change in recent years when Seward relied on the perimeter game.
“The last four or five years we’ve averaged about 25-30 threes a game. This team moves the ball better, we have a formidable inside presence, and we don’t have to rely on three-point shots. We get in and score in the paint. You think three-point shots lead to high scoring, but it is about lay-ups and free thows for us.”
Seward played its second straight game with only seven players. Payton Fleming dislocated her shoulder against New Mexico a week ago but is expected to return for the San Diego trip Dec. 27 against Miro Costa.
Seward will not return to the Greenhouse until Jan. 3 in the Conestoga Classic.