By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
The Lady Redskins used a combination of strong passing and perimeter shooting to dominate Ulysses 66-45 Tuesday in The Big House.
Jai Chapman hit two three-pointers in the opening moments of the game, and Jada Mickens added another to start the game on an 11-2 run.
The Lady Tigers answered with a Carolina Gallegos three pointer and lay-up to cut the lead to 11-7, and after a three-pointer from Jessi Arnold, the Lady Tigers had Liberal’s lead down to 15-13 with a minute to go before the half.
Liberal finished with a flurry when Megan Besecker hit a three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining in the first quarter, and after a steal, Jada Mickens hit a buzzer beater in the lane to give the Lady Redskins a 20-13 lead.
Another Gallegos three in the second quarter plus another basket cut Liberal’s lead to four, but the Lady Redskins finished the half with another flurry, finishing the half on a 13-4 run for a 37-24 lead.
Ulysses slowly chipped away to start the second half and had the lead down to 11, but Megan Besecker lit up the scoreboard with three straight three-pointers in two-and-a-half minutes, and the Lady Redskins pushed out to a 48-28 lead.
Liberal coach Bill Baird gave short breathers to Chapman, but every time he did the Lady Tigers would press. Liberal committed some turnovers that results in easy baskets for the Lady Tigers, but Liberal also started to show the ability to break the press with Mickens lay-ups by throwing over the press and taking advantage two-on-one and three-on-one breaks.
Baird began to make massive substitutions in the second half, trading out five for five.
Liberal coasted to the 66-45 win led by Chapman’s 20 points. Besecker scored 18, and Mickens had 16.
“We shot the ball really well,” Baird said. “We are a good team if we handle the pressure and get the defensive boards. We are taking better shots. We are taking game-type shots, skipping the pass and getting shots off the catch. We do hundreds of those. The more you shoot the better you feel, and good things happen.”
Mickens had a break-out performance, hitting a three and dominating inside.
“She did a good job of jumping off two feet,” Baird said. “She is using the glass much better. She came out of the game smiling because she knows what she has been working on at practice is working in the game.”
But the 11-of-18 form three was the key.
“We went 2-27 from three against Guymon,” Baird aid. “And 26 of those were good looks Tonight, we had good looks. You have to knock them down. If we make them good things happen. I won’t tell them not to shoot it. I believe a shooter is a shooter, and you have to build their confidence.”