By Randy Speer, The Circuit.
The Lady Ravens dominated Avila in the conference opener to the tune of 92-50, but suffered the loss of sophomore guard LaRanda Thomas in the process.
Thomas, who was slated to play a big role for Benedictine as the counterpart to Ali Taff at the point guard, went down with 3 minutes, 11 seconds left in the first half with what appeared to be a knee injury.
The sophomore from Sand Springs, Oklahoma grabbed a steal and raced up court for the break away lay-up. When she went up for the lay-up, she got tangled up with the Eagle’s Dani Rehor and crumpled to the ground with a scream.
She was eventually helped off the court and returned to the bench later with her right knee wrapped. The extent of the injury is currently unknown.
Benedictine (2-2, 1-0 Heart) turned to a plethora of players to fill the gap including senior Haylee Beard, sophomore Emily Cox and transfer Maddie Minnaert.
“We had to try it out right away,” Benedictine coach Chad Folsom said on replacing Thomas. “Haylee Beard was the next one, we have been using her as a point guard some in practice. I thought she did an exceptional job in stepping up in that role, in handling the ball and giving Ali breathers at the point guard.”
Outside of the injury to Thomas, it was smooth sailing for the Lady Ravens. Beard paced the Lady Ravens in the first half, connecting on all three of her 3-point attempts to give them a 40-23 lead at the break.
“I thought we played our best game of the year, hands down, so it is good to see us improving from last week,” Folsom said.
Benedictine continued to pour it on in the second half, amassing a 65-37 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Sophomore Serena Parker emerged as the game-high scorer dropping 22 points with Beard just behind her with 17 points.
Folsom noted the improvement of Parker’s free throw shooting as a contributing factor to her scoring tally, which was a career-high for the sophomore.
Parker made 30 of 69 shots from the charity strip last season. In the win over Avila (1-2, 0-1), she converted all five of her attempts.
Junior Kristen Murphy and Taff both chipped in 11 points and senior Marissa Rich scored a career-high eight points in the win as well.
“The last two or three games, I feel like (Rich) has been tentative on taking her shot, and tonight she really stepped up and took it,” Folsom said on Rich’s performance.
Benedictine is on the road today to face Graceland with a 5:30 p.m. tipoff time.