McDowell’s Naliyah Boyce has a decisive advantage in size and strength over anyone on St. Stephens’ team.
Monday, Boyce used both to overwhelm the Indians.
Boyce, a 6-foot senior center, scored 27 points and pulled down 21 rebounds, 13 of them offensive, and blocked two shots to spark a 60-37 win at Titan Gym. Boyce went 9-of-18 from the field, and tallied 14 points and 13 boards after the break as the Lady Titans (1-1) pulled away for their first win of the season.
“Our game plan was definitely to get the ball inside, to penetrate or to feed our posts, especially Naliyah” said McDowell head coach Jennifer Kinninger. “I felt like she did a really good job of positioning herself and finding places where we needed her to be. And man, she just dominated on the boards. I told her I was so proud of her; this is what we want from her every night. I felt like she had a lot of confidence.”
The entire team played with more confidence than in last week’s season-opening loss to Hickory. McDowell benefited from the return of senior point guard Katie Baker (4 points, game-high 5 assists), and cut down to 19 turnovers, compared to 27 in the Hickory game.
“We’ve worked very hard since last Tuesday on being able to handle pressure and feed the ball inside,” said Kinninger. “I felt like they did a good job tonight of being able to take care of the ball under pressure and a great job of cutting down our turnovers.”
The Indians (0-2) kept the game close for most of the first half, but McDowell got an 11-0 run at the end of the second quarter and the start of the third to take command.
The Lady Titans led just 24-20 late in the second quarter, but Boyce made back-to-back buckets off assists from Daisy Rice and Baker to make it 28-20 at the break.
Madi Smith hit a pair of free throws to start the third quarter; Boyce added a free throw; and Peyton McPeters had back-to-back hoops to make it 35-20 with 3:40 to go in the third. St. Stephens never recovered. McDowell outscored the Indians 32-19 in the second half.
Rice (6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks) tossed in nine for McDowell. McPeters added eight points.
Joselin Turner scored 13 to lead St. Stephens.
“It was good to have a little bit of a flow,” said Kinninger, whose team has battled logistical difficulties during the early season. “We’ve had one practice with our whole team, so if we can just keep that going. This is going to be a tough week with Watauga and Alexander, both on the road and both are very good, and we won’t have our volleyball girls (McDowell had a State 4A Playoff match Tuesday) for practice. But I’m just glad we get to play. The girls are excited and they come into practice every day and work hard.
St. Stephens (37) Ella Pilkenton 3-15 0-2 6, Joselin Turner 5-9 2-5 13, Molli Harris 2-8 0-0 5, Kennedy Moulton 1-6 2-3 4, Elizabeth Sumpter 0-4 0-0 0, Allie Reid 0-4 3-6 3, Kaylee McGlamary 3-4 0-0 6, Lacey Scott 0-1 0-0 0, Janae Millsaps 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 14-52 7-16 37.
McDowell (60) Daisy Rice 4-10, 1-2 9, Naliyah Boyce 9-18 9-12 27, Madi Smith 1-4 2-2 4, Payton Koone 2-6 0-0 4, Katie Baker 1-5 2-5 4, Peyton McPeters 3-4 2-6 8, Tayla Carson 0-1 3-4 3, Abby McMahan 0-3 0-0 0, Faith Laws 0-0 1-2 1, Aubrey Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, Maribel Kunzel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-51 20-33 60.
St. Stephens 09 11 07 10 – 37
McDowell 13 15 10 22 – 60
Rebounds: SS (28) MHS (45) Rebound leaders: SS (Moulton, Reid, McGlamary 6) MHS (Boyce 21, Smith 8) 3-point goals: SS (2-12) MHS (0-8) SS (Pilkenton 0-3, Turner 1-1, Harris 1-4, Moulton, Scott 0-1, Sumpter 0-2) MHS (Koone 0-3, Rice, Baker 0-2, Smith 0-1) MHS assists leaders: (Baker 5) MHS steals leaders: (Smith 3) MHS blocked shot leaders: (Boyce, Rice 2) Turnovers: SS (21) MHS (19) Fouled out: SS (McGlamary 1:40—fourth)