By Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
Lady Bulldawg coach Teresa Durham doesn't want to seem like she's unhappy and displeased.
In her first season at Copperas Cove, the longtime coach is just impatient.
Durham does like what she sees, and Tuesday night it was Cove not quite playing up to her expectations, but finding a way at home to beat Waco Midway 59-47.
"They were just flat today, but again, the thing I love about the kids is they didn't give up," Durham said. "They kept battling, trying to get something going. We'd get a run and do something good, but then we'd do something not very smart.
"But it's a learning experience."
Cove - more specifically its defensive pressure - turned it up a notch in the fourth quarter. The Lady Dawgs went in up 38-35, erasing a two-point halftime deficit.
They didn't score in the quarter's opening possession and Midway's Shelby Stidham answered with a free throw on the other end, cutting Cove's lead to two points 48 seconds into the period.
The Pantherettes, however, didn't score again for nearly two minutes.
Midway (2-7) went nearly four minutes before making a score not coming from the free-throw line. Morghan Jones' 3-pointer cut Cove's lead to 46-40 with 4:19 left to play, but it was just 1-of-3 field goals the Pantherettes made.
"It wouldn't allow us to initiate our offense," Midway head coach Todd Monsey said of Cove's pressure on the defensive end. "They're quick and they don't have great size, but they move so well laterally that it's tough to get past them and they play well as a unit.
"You move one and then you have another - there's really no weak defender for them."
Cove (8-4) forced Midway into four fourth-quarter turnovers, including a 10-second call when then Pantherettes couldn't get the ball past half court. Midway committed 20 turnovers, with Cove scoring off 14.
It wasn't exactly pretty on Cove's end - the Lady Dawgs turned it over 18 times, including 11 in the first half when they were chasing Midway.
The Pantherettes opened with an 8-2 run before Cove tied the game with 2:39 left in the first quarter on a Tateyana Harris jumper. Cove didn't score until one second remained, while Midway pulled away behind post Andria Farley.
The senior scored a game-high 20 points (10 in each half) controlling the paint and the small Cove interior defenders. On three straight second-quarter possessions, Farley was fouled by a Lady Dawg, went to the foul and hit both free throws. The final two put Midway up 24-21, a lead the Pantheretters held until a few minutes into the third quarter.
Letia Howard led Cove with 15 points, while Sarai Rodriguez and Mikayla Blount (six rebounds) scored 14 and 10 points, respectively.
"The kids battled through it,' Durham said. "Sometimes you have to have those ugly games to understand that you can't give up and you can't get down on yourself when things aren't falling. You just have to keep playing and luckily we made some things happen."