By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---Kamilah Carter (Pioneer/Ann Arbor, Mich.) led three players in double figures as the No. 5 Express women's basketball team rolled to their 12th straight win today, 84-51 over Kirtland Community College.
Carter, who scored 17 points despite a 6-for-15 shooting performance, also led the team with seven assists. She was perfect from the foul line (4-for-4), while adding three rebounds. Her assist total tied her season-high from Nov. 9 vs Monroe College.
Midway through the first half, Carter sank a pair of free throws to give the Express a 12-point lead. It started an 8-2 Express run that opened up a 27-11 lead with 5:48 left in the half.
Later, the Express closed the half with back-to-back 3-pointers from Zhana Randolph (Rochester/Rochester Hills, Mich.) and Paige Wright (Northrop/Fort Wayne, Ind.), as well as a lay-up from Carter to take a 39-21 lead into the break.
Wright (Northrop/Fort Wayne, Ind.) had all of her 15 points from long distance as she finished 5-for-8 from 3-point range. She added five rebounds, two assists and one steal, while tying her season-high in 3-point field goals made in a game. She has at least two 3-point field goals made in every game this year.
In the second half, the Express opened on fire with a 9-2 run that put them up 48-23. The run was capped by a jumper and a lay-up from Carter. Then, with 9:14 left and a 62-41 lead, the Express went on an 18-1 run to take an 80-42 lead with 2:06 left. The run ended with a 3-pointer from Carter.
Kirtland would then sink three 3-pointers in the game's final two minutes, while the Express got two lay-ups from Imani Vickers (Mansfield/Mansfield, Ohio) and Kheri Motley (West Bloomfield/West Bloomfield, Mich.).
Motley, who made her second start of the season today, carried the Express early on with five points and three rebounds before she went to the bench for the first time. The freshman forward finished 5-for-10 from the field, totaling a season-high 11 points, seven rebounds, two steals and one assist in 17 minutes.
Vickers, meanwhile, came one point from tying her season-high in scoring with eight. She finished 4-for-8 from the field. Ashley Tunstall (Huber Heights Wayne/Dayton, Ohio) also had eight points, while adding six rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Aside from Motley, Tunstall, Wright and Carter, Eboni Adams (Maple Heights/Cleveland, Ohio) rounded out the Express starting five with seven points, a team-high eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Her assist total was second on the team behind Carter, while her eight rebounds tied her season-high from Nov. 9 against Monroe College.
Vickers was the high scorer off the Express bench, while LaKayra Carlisle (Pershing/Detroit, Mich.) added seven points. Randolph also produced six points, five rebounds, a team-high three steals and two assists off the bench.
Kirtland was led by Natalia Bukur and Jo Hamlin, who each had double-doubles. Interestingly, they each finished 4-for-17 from the field. The duo also combined to shoot 7-for-26 from 3-point range.
Hamlin led her team with 16 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one steal, while Bukur had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Sarah Lueck chipped in nine points and a team-high six assists.
Kirtland, who heavily used the 3-point field goal to pace their offense, finished 10-for-31 from 3-point range. In fact, over the game's final 14 minutes, they did not make a 2-point field goal attempt. Instead, they made seven 3-pointers and two free throws. They scored solely via the 3-point field goal attempt in the game's final 12 minutes.
The Express (12-1) will take their 12-game winning streak into a Dec. 18 road rematch against Kirtland (3-2) at 5:30 p.m.