Defensive Gem Propels Lady Flames Over Delta State
The Lady Flames put up their lowest scoring game of the season Thursday night against the Delta State Statesmen, but the strong play on the defensive end was the main story as the girls pushed on to a 54-27 win.
The ladies struggled sticking to their original game plan and moved to a defensive emphasis while giving the ball to the post players near the basket.
In a tight-knit game in the first half, the Lady Flames appeared to be playing to the speed of a Delta State team with a lack of size and depth. Offensively, the Lee team shot only 34 percent from the floor, resulting in a concerning three-point lead going into halftime. The girls stayed tough and found a way to get the job done behind the hustle of Abby Bertram, who led the Lady Flames in nearly every statistical category.
“We shoot threes—that’s our game, so we focused on that. We weren’t hitting much in the first half,” explained Bertram. “So we went to our bigs on the inside. We focused more on ourselves than we did the other team.”
The halftime adjustment resulted in a third quarter that served to separate the two teams. The Flames scored fifteen points to Delta State’s one and only allowed six points the entire second half. The emphasis to improve defense resulted in an overall change of the Flame’s performance.
“Once your defense comes, your offense usually comes afterwards,” Bertram said. “We usually try to get our defense going first. Then our offense usually comes next.”
The defense resulted in a multitude of turnovers for the Delta State Statesmen, giving up sixteen turnovers to the Lady Flames. Strong play from post player Shelby Brown kept the ladies alive in the first half, and Carrie Cheeks reentered the game in the second half after getting into foul trouble at the start of the game. Both athletes combined for eleven points, four blocks and a spark of much-needed energy for the Lady Flames.
From things not clicking offensively, to lulls in the contest, to being up by double digits to end the game, the team showed the same amount of intensity throughout the contest. Through the highs and lows of every game, this impressive Lady Flames team continues to show a sense of unity on and off the court. Bertram pointed to the team’s unity: “We’re basically family.”
The Lady Flames family is back in action this weekend as they look to take on Mississippi College, a team with a record of 6-10 with two total conference wins. Lee University's Walker Arena will host as this talented group of Flames looks to reach sixteen wins on the season and 9-2 in GSC play. The ladies look to improve from this Delta State contest going forward.
“Defense is huge,” stated Bertram. “Limiting turnovers and playing together and playing our game is what we have to do.”
For more information, stats and highlights from the Lady Flame’s basketball season, visit goleeflames.com or check out the Lady Flames in action at Walker Arena on campus.