Women’s Basketball kicks off season with win over Campbellsville – Harrodsburg

Grenadiers use standout performances by Lambdin, Henn, and Ralph to defeat Pioneers in season opener

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Brandon Miniard

Junior guard Lauren Lambdin draws a double team of Campbellsville – Harrodsburg’s Nia Sheckles (5) and E’moni Washington (10) during the second quarter of the Grenadiers’ home opener versus the Pioneers.

Brandon Miniard, Sports Editor

Questions surrounded who would become the leading scorers for the IU Southeast Women’s Basketball team to start the 2020-21 season. That question was answered on Wednesday when the Grenadiers defeated Campbellsville University – Harrodsburg 84-67, led by double-digit scoring performances from Lauren Lambdin, Kirstie Henn, and Emmy Ralph.

“We had a lot of points on the fast break,” Head Coach Robin Farris said. “We didn’t have any fastbreak points in the third quarter because we were fouling, but I thought those fastbreak points were huge for us.”

Four of those turnovers came in the first quarter as the Grenadiers stumbled out of the gate, allowing the Pioneers to score the first five points of the contest. Both sides battled back and forth for most of the period until a layup by Kayla Thompson with 10 seconds left gave the Pioneers a slim 17-16 lead.

In the second quarter, the Grenadiers quickly took the lead courtesy of a 16-6 run, fueled in part thanks to Lambdin and Ralph, who each scored seven in the period, along with four from Henn. While the Pioneers kept the deficit to single digits thanks to Oriona Woods, who scored nine of her game-high 28 points in the period, the Grenadiers retreated to the locker room with a 40-32 advantage.

“At first, we struggled to guard them in our man-to-man defense as they were quicker than us and tough off the dribble,” Farris said. “When [CU – H] cut the deficit to three, I decided to switch to zone defense, which I probably should have done earlier.”

The second half began with the Grenadiers scoring 10 of the first 14 points within the first three minutes of the period before battling back and forth for the rest of the quarter. The Pioneers were able to cut the deficit to seven thanks to foul calls on Hannah Corus and Josie Woods, making three of the four subsequent free throws, ending the period with a 58-51 Grenadier edge.

The Pioneers showed resolve to start the final period by utilizing multiple Grenadier misses, cutting the deficit by two with 6:09 left to play. The comeback effort fell short however as the Pioneer offense faltered thanks to the Grenadiers switching to a zone defense, allowing them to outrebound and score on multiple fastbreaks en route to seal the game.

“We only had 11 turnovers all game and scored in the eighties,” Farris said of his team’s efficient offense. “I think that’s a plus because we could have lost that game if we had a high turnover rate.”

Despite the win, the Grenadiers’ first of the season, their defense could do little to contain Woods and her 28 points. Nia Sheckles chipped in 21 points while E’moni Washington pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. Lambdin finished with 22 points, six rebounds, and four assists while Ralph added 17 and four assists.

“We had really good spacing on the court and we were fast,” Lambdin said. “Myself, Emmy, and Kirstie were all running the lanes and found a lot of fast break opportunities which made it easy for us to score.”

Henn, playing in her first collegiate contest since Feb. 16, 2019, finished with a career-high 21 points as well as a team-high eight rebounds and three steals. Henn sat out the entirety of the 2019-20 season as a redshirt for undisclosed reasons after averaging 6.1 points per game during the 2018-19 campaign.

“It was both nerve wracking and exciting to come back, especially with players I already knew on the court,” Henn said. “I played with Emmy in high school [at Bullitt East] and played with Lauren two years ago, so the familiarity helped me transition back.”

The contest also marked the collegiate debut of four freshmen, Isabell Claywell, Leah Miller, Collette Nice, and Alex Maher. Miller scored seven points, while Maher scored six and pulled down six boards in her debut.

The Grenadiers (1-0) return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 3, when they travel to face Kentucky Christian at 6 p.m. They follow that matchup by returning to the Activities Building on Saturday, Nov. 7, when they welcome Lindsey Wilson for a 1 p.m. tipoff. The Blue Raiders will be the Grenadiers’ first true test of the season, as they are currently receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Poll.

Campbellsville University – Harrodsburg (0-1): Oriona Woods 28, Nia Sheckles 21, E’moni Washington 7, Alyssa Roberts 5, Makala Smith 2, Jaiden Douthit 2, Kayla Thompson 2

IUS (1-0): Lauren Lambdin 22, Kirstie Henn 21, Emmy Ralph 17, Maddie Knight 9, Leah Miller 7, Alex Maher 6, Josie Woods 2