Sophomore Michelle Gabani dribbles the ball past an opponent. Gabani added two points to Tuesday’s 60-56 win over Evangel.

Tuesday’s game against Evangel was a defensive battle on both sides, but the Lady Cats were able to come out with a 60-56 win. 

Head coach Becky Mullis said it wasn’t a typical game for the Lady Cats, but they never let it get the best of them – even when the Evangel Crusaders crept up on their lead in the fourth quarter. 

“I just felt like we didn’t let it get us rattled,” Mullis said. “We still guarded well defensively. We only gave up 56 points after they just scored 86 Saturday night.”

Holding a team from the get-go isn’t an easy task, but the Lady Cats managed to maintain their lead from the start. 

A three pointer from sophomore Kyra Hardesty put the Lady Cats on the board just two minutes into the game. The Crusaders answered with two points of their own before sophomore Annie Noah fired back. 

With around five minutes left to play in the first quarter, the Lady Cats took off with the lead. They headed into the second quarter with a seven point lead.

The lead nearly got away from the Lady Cats in the second quarter until shots from Noah, seniors Ashley Forrest and Aleksei Smith and Hardesty gave them a 12 point lead. 

The Crusaders attempted to battle back, but the Lady Cats showed strong defensive skills and held them going into the half. 

At halftime, the Lady Cats led by eight.

The Crusaders came back from the half aggressive, closing the Lady Cats’ lead to six points just 40 seconds in. But the Lady Cats weren’t going to give up their lead that easily.

“We just found a way to make plays down the stretch whenever we needed it,” Mullis said. 

Through the remainder of the third, the Lady Cats fought to maintain their lead and put up some points of their own. 

In the third quarter they had added 16 points to their score, and allowed their opponent 16 as well. They began the fourth quarter with another eight point lead.

Evangel came close to taking over the lead in the fourth. Just three minutes in, the Crusaders had battled back from their eight-point deficit and trailed by only one point. 

But, the Lady Cats were able to prevent them from overtaking their lead in the last 10 minutes. 

Mullis said her team made her proud, but there’s still work to be done.

“I was proud of our effort, proud of our defensive effort, but we’ve got to go to work offensively,” Mullis said. 

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