TAYLORSVILLE – Over the years, the McDowell Lady Titans have rarely traveled the country roads of Alexander County knowing they had a tough challenge on their hands.
This trip was for sure one of those rarities.
Down two starters, McDowell could not overcome a sluggish performance offensively as they fell to Alexander Central 46-43 Tuesday night.
The Lady Titans (0-2) have dropped their first two for the first time since 2010-11 and for just the second time since the 1983-84 team started 0-6.
Forward Amanda Bingham didn’t dress for the second straight game due to a knee injury. McDowell also didn’t have the services of junior Hayley Creasman, who suffered a fractured wrist last week at R-S Central. Creasman is expected to miss close to a month.
With little frontcourt help, it meant the Lady Titans needed to shoot the ball well especially from the perimeter. Alexander Central (2-0) took advantage and sat in a zone, forcing McDowell’s hand at the perimeter. The strategy proved successful.
The Lady Titans committed 13 first-half turnovers, 23 for the game. That, combined with a 32-percent effort (16 of 50) from the field, and a sub-50 percent showing from the foul line (7 of 15), and it all had the makings of a bad night.
McDowell had just one lead the entire night and that occurred in the early stages of the first quarter. Diamond Hemphill drained a 3-pointer a minute and a half in and Vyctoria Hall added a drive and score later to give the Lady Titans a 5-2 advantage after three minutes in.
After that Alexander Central finished the half with a 12-6 run.
The Lady Cougars took a 14-11 advantage after one quarter and stretched it to 27-14 at the break.
The Lady Titans scored the first seven points of the first half, all of it coming from Hemphill and Hall. McDowell tied it at 32-32 on a Candace Cooper steal and layup with 1:32 left in the third.
The Lady Titans had it either tied or down one point three more times in the fourth quarter with chances to win before eventually running out of time.
Dezi Williams made a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left, getting McDowell to 44-43.
Jessica Robles missed pair of free throws giving McDowell life. But Hall missed a runner with six seconds to go.
Abby Cook then sank a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds left to make it 46-43. Zoe Miller took a pass from Hemphill and fired up a final shot attempt that rattled in and out as time expired.
Williams finished with 16 points, five steals and two rebounds. Hall (6 rebounds, 3 steals) added 13 points. Hemphill (4 assists) added nine points. Cooper and Taylor Buchanan chipped in two each and Miller scored one.
Cook finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Alexander Central and KeyKey Miller added 10 points.
McDowell will have its home debut tonight (Thursday) against R-S Central (4:30 start—jayvee boys).