BRIDGEPORT -- Regardless of the lineup, Bridgeport showed execution and good defense still win most of the time.
Theresa Melko scored a game-high 23 points, and teammate Lauren Kerr followed with 13 as the Indians (1-0, 1-0 Big 10) opened the season with a 54-28 victory over Lewis County. The win was the 20th consecutive Big 10 victory for Bridgeport.
"I knew our girls underneath would do the job, but I was a little concerned about how our wing players would do," Indians coach Dave Marshall said. "For our first time out, I thought they did decent. We're not going to give them all A's right now, but we're headed in the right direction. And that starts with our defense."
Bridgeport forced the Minutemaids into 24 turnovers and held them to just 16.7 percent shooting (2 for 12) in the first half. By then, the Indians had built a 31-8 lead.
The Minutemaids' Jaime Parker scored on a backside layup with 3:55 remaining in the first quarter and the team didn't score another field goal until Colleen Pyles' basket on an offensive rebound with :55 left in the third.
The Lewis County backcourt, which led the Big 10 in 3-pointers last season, shot just 2 for 12 from behind the 3-point line.
"We just didn't score or take care of the basketball," Lewis County coach Gary Stout said. "We wanted to try and get into a running game, but when you're not scoring it's hard to get into a press and create anything. It was just a tough night."
The Indians', who replaced its entire backcourt, got five assists from sophomore point guard Sarah Snider. Freshman Meredith Legg came off of the bench to score nine points and grab five rebounds. Kerr had a game-high eight rebounds.
Pyles led the Minutemaids with six points.
"Let's face it. All we do is work on defense," Marshall said. "If we don't get pretty good at it then there's something wrong. As detailed as we are with it, we ought to improve. The girls are coming along with it. They've got a long way to go before they're a real good defensive team, but they're coming along."
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org