By Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
In just over two minutes, Copperas Cove was no longer a team that kept getting in its own way.
It seemed like the turnovers stopped, as did the careless plays that had the Lady Bulldawgs chasing Mexia for most of the first half and into the third quarter.
Shots started falling and, more importantly for Cove, the shots on the other end of the court - Mexia's attempts - stopped dropping.
The Lady Bulldawgs scored on five straight possessions in the two-minute stretch late in the third quarter and held Mexia without a basket until three minutes into the fourth in a 70-56 win at home Tuesday.
"Just scoring a couple of those easy baskets in transition," said Cove's first-year head coach Teresa Durham. "Where we struggle right now is running an offense, being patient and remembering what we're supposed to do. We're just herky-jerky and can't seem to get a flow."
That was the care until three minutes remained in the third quarter.
Until then, Cove (3-0) and Mexia traded runs and baskets. The Lady Cats (2-1) jumped out to a 9-4 lead before to start the game before the Lady Dawgs answered with an 11-3 run to end the opening period.
Cove stretched the lead to 25-20 on a Bryaunea Hall putback with 2:09 left in the second quarter, but a Ariel Ballard answered on the other end with the only 3-pointer she made in seven tries. Mexia then picked off an errant Cove pass - one of 14 first-half turnovers for the Lady Dawgs - and a Taylor Ballard layup tied the game.
In the third quarter, Mexia stopped a quick 6-0 Cove early on, tying the game at 34-34 on an Ashley Johnson putback and later going up 41-36 with 3:08 left in the quarter.
Ariel Ballard's layup was the Lady Cats' last points until Brechelle Beachum made a layup with 5:12 left in the game.
"We kind of got back on heels on defense a little bit and then we missed some shots - missed some key shots," Mexia head coach Randy Barger said.
Tia Howard answered Ballard's make with a 3-pointer to cut it 41-39 with 2:51 left in the quarter and Hall tied it up 26 seconds later. Freshman guard Mikayla Blount put Cove up the next time down the floor with a pair of free throws.
On the ensuing possession, Hall blocked not only one Mexia shot, but two. The sophomore corralled the loose ball, and Cove went back the other way with its bench and fans on their feet. Sarai Rodriguez was fouled and hit both foul shots to put Cove back up. Hall then converted a layup with two Lady Cats defending on the play, closing the 11-0 run that stretched to 19-0 in the fourth quarter.
"I could feel the crowd," said Hall, who finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. "We were in it and we wanted to win the game. We worked too hard for it."
Said Barger: "They got pretty hot - our defense let up a little bit in the third quarter."
Copperas Cove 42, Cedar Park 41 (Nov. 11) - At Cove, Tateyanna Harris hit four of her six free throws in the fourth quarter, rallying the Lady Dawgs to a one-point win over Cedar Park.
Harris and Letia Howard each scored 11 for Cove (2-0) as the Lady Dawgs finally overcame Cedar Park after trailing most of the game and 32-28 going into the fourth quarter.
"It was the opposite of (the other) night, when we couldn't score from the line," said Cove coach Teresa Durham. "She (Harris) stepped up and gave us that little edge."
After hitting just 14 of 28 free throws in their overtime win over Marble Falls on Tuesday, the Lady Dawgs were 14-of-24 against Cedar Park, but Harris was on in the fourth when it mattered.
Howard hit all three of the Lady Dawgs' 3-pointers and Shawnte Goff finished with eight points for Cove, which hosts Mexia on Tuesday.
Austin Akins 65, Copperas Cove 62 (Monday) - At Austin, the Bulldawgs jumped out early and even led 32-29 at halftime, but couldn't hold on in the second half in dropping their season opener. The Eagles used a 21-15 final quarter to pull away.
Junior guard Cory had a team-high 19 points for the Dawgs, while freshman Rashard Odomes added 12 points.
The Dawgs travel to the Dallas area for the Highland Park Tournament this weekend.