Photo by Steve Woltman.
The Flyers huddle during pregame introductions to prepare for the competition.
During an 87-80 victory over GLVC opponent Missouri S&T, Junior forward Jessica Kelliher achieved a noteworthy milestone. Kelliher racked up 31 points in the game, passing Darcee Schmidt’s school record for most points in a single season at 679.
“I didn’t even know I was close to it, but it’s a really cool thing to be able to do,” said Kelliher. “I give all the credit to my teammates, because they’re able to get me the ball and make everything easier for me.”
Prior to her achievement, the Flyers suffered a tough loss to fifth-ranked Drury.
Lewis committed 10 turnovers while making just three of eight shots in the second quarter; they headed into the locker room trailing 42-23 at halftime.
“Drury really made it difficult for us to run our offense,” said Flyers head coach Samantha Quigley Smith. “They got their hands in passing lanes and made it tough for us to pass the ball around the perimeter.”
Led by junior forward Lucia Fernandez’s prominent presence in the paint, Drury continued to excel offensively in the second half. They limited Kelliher to 16 points on 11 shots, and went on to win 83-63. Lewis finished the contest with a season-high 29 turnovers and shot a dismal 47 percent from the free throw line. The junior guard tandem of Gabby Green and Tierney Lockett combined for 32 of Lewis’ points, but committed 16 of the team’s turnovers.
The Flyers were not very patient during the contest, and failed to read defenses and let their offense develop. However, Quigley Smith viewed the loss as a learning experience and was proud of the way her team rebounded the following afternoon against S&T.
The Lady Miners heated up from behind the arc in the first half, but Lewis kicked up the pressure after the break. “We came out of halftime with a little more defensive intensity than we had in the first half,” said Quigley Smith.
With five minutes remaining, the Flyers advanced thanks to a 10-2 run that was capped by a Kelliher layup. Lewis outrebounded S&T by a 35-to-26 margin and finished the game shooting 55 percent, overall. Sophomore forward Rachel Hinders joined Kelliher in double figures, presenting a stat line of 20 points and eight rebounds.
Kelliher currently leads the nation in scoring, averaging 25.1 points per game. Following her historic accomplishment, Quigley Smith praised Kelliher for doing the “little things” on the court and in the locker room.
“Jess does a great job of finding open teammates and defending in the post,” Quigley Smith said. “She’s so unselfish, and has the ability to be a leader not only on the court but off the court as well.”
The Flyers will compete in the upcoming GLVC tournament.