(ST. LOUIS, MO) Heading into the backstretch of their regular season, the St. Louis Surge women’s professional basketball franchise kept their home record unblemished with Saturday night’s 87-74 win over the Georgia Stampede at Washington University’s Field House in front of 500 spectators.
The baker’s dozen triumph pushed the Surge’s record to 7-2 and provided the hoop hustle that they needed with the potential of post-season placement within ,Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL) on the horizon.
The Surge’s task to collect a fourth straight home win was not easy as the Stampede (3-6) challenged the locals from the get-go and mightily marched midway through the third quarter to tie the score.
“We are so glad that they came in with guns-a-blazin’,” reflected Surge guard Rebecca Harris immediately after the contest. “It opened up the door for us to see some things that we needed to work on. I mean, who wants to have a blowout? We like games like this that make us work harder, work together and see what we’re made of.”
Trailing 3-2 within the first minute, the Surge claimed a trio of treys and built a sizable advantage. Jaleesa Butler’s three-pointer the 8:35 mark flipped the scoreboard, 5-3. Brittany Carter followed with the same result one minute later and Butler’s second of the frame with seven minutes left gave St. Louis an 11-5 edge.
After both teams traded points, St. Louis’ Jordan Jones notched back-to-back two-pointers that widened the score to 18-11 with 4:30 left.
The Surge maintained the seven point differential with Butler’s five-foot jumper with 3:30 left that made the score 22-15.
Paced by Butler’s eight points in the stanza, the Surge held a 24-19 edge at first quarter’s conclusion.
In the second quarter, St. Louis utilized a 7-0 sprint midway through the frame and expanded their lead. Launched by Leti Lerma’s lay-up and finished by Carter’s finger-roll with 5:10 left, the Surge pushed the score to 31-22.
Georgia countered with a 9-2 run over the next two minutes via Holmes’ hot shooting from the floor. This resulted in the Stampede slicing the Surge’s lead to 33-31 with 2:30 left in the half.
With their 18-17 edge in scoring over the Stampede in the second, St. Louis possessed a 41-37 advantage at intermission.
Georgia made their strongest push with a 12-8 start in the opening minutes of the third. With four three-pointers collected, including Holmes’ crowd-killer with four minutes remaining in the frame, the Stampede tied the score 49-49.
Facing adversity, the Surge countered with a 8-1 run over the next two minutes. Launched by Butler’s ten-footer, accented by Sherise Williams’ three-footer thirty seconds later and finished by a pair of buckets from Mariah King, St. Louis built their lead back up to 57-50 with 1:50 left.
Even with their mini-burst at the end, the Surge barely edged the Stampede in third quarter scoring (22-20) and clung onto a 63-57 lead heading into the final frame.
“We talked about how it was time to pull away,” she said of the between-the-quarters confab. “We didn’t want a team lingering around with us for too long. We knew it was going to be a battle and it was going to last three quarters but then we needed to pull away.”
Leave it to Harris to command the corral of the unbridled stampede.
Her pair of quarter-opening treys set the tone. When the second hit at the eight-minute mark, the Surge held their first double-digit lead of the evening, 69-57. Then after converting on a pair of free throws a minute later and hitting a two-foot jumper with 6:05 remaining, Harris’ individual 10-point push resulted in the Surge’s 73-62 lead.
The Stampede attempted a comeback but St. Louis’ 8-0 run down the stretch secured victory. Lerma collected a pair of glass kissers while Kelsey McClure snared a lay-up as St. Louis’ lead blossomed to 85-70 with two minutes left.
The Surge outscored Georgia, 24-16, in the final quarter en route to the 87-73 victory and maintained a spotless record at Wash U (4-0) on the year.
Five St. Louis players scored double-digits on the evening, paced by Harris’ 22 points while Holmes topped Georgia scoring with 39 points.
St. Louis finishes their regular season next Sunday afternoon in a 2 p.m. home meeting with WBCBL Atlantic rep Music City Icons (1-5). The Surge topped the Nashville-based team earlier this season, 93-70, but Harris is fully aware that the visitors are ready to play at their best just like the Stampede did on Saturday.
“I expect it to be a battle but I also expect us to fine tune everything and for us to look good,” she said.
For more information on Surge Basketball, go to their official website.
SURGE INDIVIDUAL SCORING (87): Harris 22, King 14, Carter 11, Bellock 10, Butler 10, Lerma 8, Jones 6, Latham 2, McClure 2, Williams 2.