Unselfish play by the Lady Bearcats was the winning formula, as Dexter racked up 24 assists compared to seven for NMCC.
"The girls played well coming off a week's break," said Dexter head coach Gavin Miller. "I was looking for the team to pick up their energy level early in the game. We took advantage of some early turnovers and were out to a quick start."
Dexter jumped on the Lady Eagles early, as the Lady Bearcats opened the game with a 15-2 run on their way to a 19-6 first quarter lead. Dexter fans got an early surprise, as junior forward Haylee Finch entered the game with a little over one minute remaining in the quarter.
Finch played a few minutes in each quarter besides the fourth, when she sat out to ice her knee. Finch's first game should be considered a success for the Dexter faithful just because she took the floor. An added bonus was during limited action, Finch scored two points, grabbed two rebounds (one offensive) and had one assist.
"It was good to see Haylee get her first action of the year," said Miller. "It is going to take some time for her to get back to full strength. She will play when I fell she can help our team. We are looking to be a complete team by the time districts will roll around. As for Haylee, tomorrow will be a big day to see if their is any swelling on her knee."
NMCC struggled to break Dexter's 2-2-1 full-court press throughout the entire first half. The Lady Eagles committed 14 first half turnovers, which led too many easy Dexter baskets. The Lady Bearcats outscored NMCC 15-8 in the second quarter, and enjoyed a 34-14 led at the half.
"We didn't handle their press very well," said NMCC head coach Lance Tollison. "Our girls made too many mental mistakes in the first half, which put us in a huge hole."
Senior Molly Burleson had a good first half scoring eight points on two 3-
pointers and had four assists. Taylor Nelson scored four points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists in the first half.
"Burleson took positive steps in the right direction tonight," said Miller. "She played very well on offense and defense. I think this might get her back on rhythm for the rest of the season."
Bailey Stanley, a 5-foot-11 junior, stepped up down in the post and scored six points with three rebounds. Sophomore Amanda Dooley got the start and put up six points, with three rebounds and two assists in the first half.
While Dexter spread the wealth in the first half, NMCC had only three players enter the scorebook in the half. Heavenly Wren, a 5-7 forward for NMCC, scored five points and hauled down seven rebounds in the first half. Lameka Newsom added five points and three rebounds. Tsia Matthews rounded out the scoring for the Lady Eagles in the half, with four points, grabbed four rebounds and had two assists.
NMCC came out of the locker room on fire in the second half, by scoring the first eight points of the third quarter. In the run, Matthews hit a three-pointer and sophomore Jasmine Beasley made a couple baskets off Dexter turnovers.
Dexter calmed down and started to focus on getting the basketball down low. Stanley scored 10 points in the second half, all on excellent passes from the Dexter perimeter. Five Lady Bearcat players had three or more assists in the game.
After being outscored 8-0 to start the second half, Dexter rallied to play NMCC to a tie in the third quarter, as both squads scored 18 points in the quarter. Dexter had a comfortable led of 52-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Eagles could never break within 20 points of Dexter in the fourth quarter. The Lady Bearcats cruised to a 70-45 victory, outscoring NMCC 18
-13 in the fourth quarter.
"I was pleased with the way our team played in the second half," said Tollison. "If we played the first half the way we did in the second half, it might have been a different game."
For the game, Dexter outrebounded NMCC 30-27. Dexter had 11 offensive rebounds, while the Lady Eagles got 13. The Lady Bearcats committed 19 turnovers, while NMCC committed 23.
Stanley led Dexter in points and rebounds with 16 and eight respectively. Dooley finished with 12 points, had four rebounds and five assists. Mallory Kennedy continued her unselfish play scoring nine points and leading the team with six assists.
Nelson ended up with eight points, had six rebounds and dished out three assists. Burleson scored eight points and had four assists for the Lady Bearcats.
"Stanley is new with basketball after not playing last year," said Miller. "She is getting better every single game, but she still needs to work on moving down low without the basketball. She is going to be a very good player for us in districts."
Wren led NMCC in scoring and rebounding with 16 points and 11 rebounds (eight offensive).
"Wren is a workhorse down low for us," said Tollison. "She is a hard-worker and the good thing for us is, she is only a junior."
Beasley scored 13 points and had five rebounds for the Lady Eagles. Matthews finished with seven points, had four rebounds and led NMCC with three assists. Newsom chipped in with seven points and four rebounds.
Dexter won the junior varsity contest 64-13 over NMCC.
Dexter (7-1) will travel to Bonne Terre on Saturday to take on North County at 5 p.m.
NMCC (7-5) is at home on Thursday and will face Malden at 6 p.m.