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Hot start lifts SE to big win at UAM

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Southeastern opened the game on a 15-0 run and never looked back while cruising to its third-straight win with a 74-41 road-victory over Arkansas-Monticello on Thursday night in Monticello, Ark.

The win lifts the Savage Storm to 8-4 overall and 6-2 in Great American Conference play heading into a Saturday afternoon matchup against Southern Arkansas at 1 p.m. in Magnolia, Ark.

“Were better now,” said head coach Darin Grover of his team’s defensive effort. “When we came back from the break that was an emphasis. We have a lot of young kids playing, and when we came back from Christmas that was the emphasis and I think its paid off.”

SE shot 50.0 percent from the field for the game and conversely held UAM to a 27.1 percent effort and their lowest offensive output of the season.

The Storm was paced by Kamryn Cantwell and Katie Branam who combined to account for 38 of the team’s 74 points.

Cantwell finished the night with 20 points, her third 20-ppoint scoring outing in her last four games, hitting 7-of-10 from the field, including a 6-of-6 effort from behind the arc which matches the second best three-point shooting effort in GAC history, one off the top mark of 7-of-7.

Branam posted a 7-of-10 effort of her own and was 4-of-4 from long range to finish with a season-high 18 points.

“They both got our co-players of the game,” said Grover of the performance by Cantwell and Branam. “Look at the stat sheet and its identical. Cantwell can shoot, and she just hasn’t done a lot of it this year. But to have two of them do that between Branam and Cantwell was great.

They were joined in double-figures by Katie Webb who finished with 13 points, 11 of them in the first half.

Southeastern shot 50 percent from the field, and was even better from long range, hitting 14-of-24 threes to finish at 58.3 percent and added a 6-of-8 effort at the free throw line.

The Storm finished with 19 assists as a team, with Branam posting a team-best four while three others added three each.

SE held a 39-to-29 edge on the glass, with Webb hauling in a team-high seven rebounds.

Southeastern scored the first 15 points of the contest, starting with a Branam jumper and capped by a Cantwell three to open a 15-0 lead at the 5:55 mark of the first quarter.

UAM would get on the board, but the Storm would continue to press, taking a 24-7 lead at the end of one quarter.

The lead would hit 20 points at the 5:36 mark of the second quarter after a slow start by both teams in the frame was ended by a Branam layup.

The Storm would slowly push the lead out, ultimately taking a 42-15 lead into the locker room at halftime with a Cierra Rangel bucket dropping with 13 seconds to play in the half to fashion the halftime edge.

Momentum carried into the second half, with the lead cresting 30 points at 47-17 on a Moon three at the 8:09 mark and stretched to as many as 33 points on a Cantwell three with 3:41 to go in the frame before settling on a 58-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The advantage would reach a game-high in the fourth quarter at 34 points on a Haiden Williams layup to take a 72-38 lead, before ultimately settling on a 74-41 final score.

From Southeastern Athletics.

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