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Indians sprint past RCB

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

BRIDGEPORT -- When Bridgeport couldn't seem to find the basket, the Indians resorted to their reliable staple, and that meant not letting Robert C. Byrd anywhere near the goal.

Bridgeport (2-0, 2-0 Big 10) forced the Eagles into 32 turnovers and held them to just 26 field goal attempts in a 54-22 girls basketball victory Thursday.

The 22 points were the fewest allowed by the Indians since defeating Robert C. Byrd last season at home, 42-22.

Senior Sarah Snider (eight) and sophomore Lauren Gilbert (seven) combined for 15 steals, which helped pave the way for an 18-0 advantage in transition points.

"All through the preseason I thought if there was anything we'd have trouble with it would be our defense because we're so young," Bridgeport coach Dave Marshall said. "There's been holes in it, but so far it's been OK. But to hold them to just 22 and Lewis County (31 points) to what we did, I'd say we're a little further ahead than I thought we'd be."

Gilbert scored a game-high 15 points, while freshman Heidi Bastin added 11. Snider, who sat out most of last season while overcoming a tear to her ACL, followed with nine points and five assists. More importantly, she held Eagles' standout Keisha Bowsman to just four points on 1-of-6 shooting.

"The knee obviously didn't give her much problem tonight," Marshall said. "I think a lot of times people forget someone when they're coming off an injury like that. I think if she can continue to stay healthy, she'll be a good defender."

Bridgeport still had its own problems early.

The Indians led 19-9 at halftime despite shooting 7 of 30. With the Eagles back in a zone defense, Bridgeport was forced into shooting deep from the perimeter, resulting in a 5-of-26 performance from behind the 3-point line. The Indians didn't get any points from its frontcourt until freshman Kaitlin Bishop scored with 3:41 left in the third quarter. That was part of a 13-0 run to start the second half, effectively putting the game away.

"Their pressure really hurt us there," first-year Robert C. Byrd coach Rick Malfregeot said. "You can't turn the ball over like we did and win.

"The first half we did OK, but they've got four outstanding shooters and four guards who really put a lot of pressure on the ball."

Jessica Lockett scored five points for the Eagles (0-2, 0-2). Ashley Mullooly grabbed six rebounds, while Casey Sutton and Danielle McKibben each finished with five.

Bishop and Emily Carmichael each had six rebounds for Bridgeport.

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at mnutter@exponent-telegram.com