By Brent Huelsmann
The Hornettes kept up their winning ways this week as they defeated conference rival Sparta, and Herrin both on the road. The wins marked three straight wins since taking fourth place in the NIT.
The Hornettes took an early lead, and were able to hold on late against the Sparta Bulldogs on December 8. Sparta was able to take a 5-4 lead but a three pointer by Paige Kasten gave the Hornettes the lead for good. The Hornettes led by just four points after the first quarter, but started the second quarter on an 11-0 run to give the Hornettes a commanding lead. The Bulldogs would come back, ending the half on a 6-0 run of their own. The Hornettes held a 22-13 lead at halftime.
The Hornettes extended their lead in the third quarter to as high as 13 points, but a late three pointer by Sparta trimmed the Hornettes lead to 10 points going into the final stanza. Sparta came out on fire in the fourth quarter, as they began the quarter on a 6-0 run to trim the Nashville lead to just four points, their shortest lead since the second quarter. Although the Hornettes struggled down the stretch, a late bucket by Mackenzie McFeron sealed a 35-29 win for the Hornettes.
McFeron led the Hornettes in the contest with 15 points. Kasten added six points in the game, followed by Rachael Kell with five points. Janie Holle scored four points while Sophie Heck scored three points. Karly Stanowski had two points in the win for Nashville.
The Hornettes then took on Herrin on December 10. The Hornettes struggled in the first quarter, as they trailed by three at the end of the first quarter. Herrin exteneded their lead before halftime as they outscored Nashville 9-6 in the second quarter. The Hornettes trailed 11-17 at the halftime break. The Hornettes came out on fire in the second half, scoring 15 points in the third quarter alone. McFeron led the team in the thrid quarter with eight points in the quarter. The Hornettes hot start to the second half trimmed Herrin's lead to just two points going into the last quarter. In the fourth, the Hornettes were able to take control of the game behind five points by Holle. The Hornettes outscored Herrin 10-3 in the fourth quarter to win the game 36-31.
McFeron again led the Hornettes with 16 points in the game. Kasten made three three pointers in the game to finish with nine points. Holle scored all of her points in the second half as she finished with 7 in the game. Stanowski rounded out the scoring with four points in the game.
The Hornettes then looked to continue their winning streak against Benton on December 12. The game was even early as neither team could take control after one quarter of play. With the game tied at nine after the first quarter, the teams traded points again in the second to keep the game tied at halftime. The Hornettes were able to gain a slight edge in the third quarter, outscoring Benton 9-8. The Hornettes were able to pull away in the final stanza as they went on to win the game 35-29.
McFeron led the Hornettes with 12 points in the game, six of which came in the fourth quarter. Kasten and Stanowski each had eight points apiece for the Hornettes in the win. Holle scored four points for Nashville and Brooke Bowman scored three points to round out the scoring