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CONWAY -- Rebounding has not been Conway's forte this season, but hitting the boards made all the difference for the Lady Wampus Cats on Tuesday night.

Junior guard Myia Yelder drilled two free throws with 9.7 seconds remaining to help No. 3 Conway escape with a 56-52 victory over No. 2 Fort Smith Northside in 7A-Central Conference action at Buzz Bolding Arena.

Conway (21-3, 9-2) outrebounded Northside 18-9 in the second half -- including a 10-3 advantage on the offensive end. The Lady Wampus Cats' final three field goals came after offensive rebounds.

"In our previous four games, we've been outrebounded three times," Conway Coach Ashley Nance said. "We're not big by any means ... Cabot outrebounded us by 20 [Friday night]. It's gotten ridiculous. Defense may win championships, and to some extent it does, but I believe rebounding is just as important."

Junior Asiyha Smith, held to three points in the first half, finished with a team-high 13 points and 7 rebounds. Yelder scored 11 points and had six rebounds. Conway held a 29-25 advantage on the boards.

"They just killed us on the glass," Northside Coach Rickey Smith said. "I don't feel like we competed as hard as they did. We're young and we got a little rattled."

Tracey Bershers paced Northside (21-3, 9-2) with 18 points and 6 rebounds, but the 6-1 freshman was limited to only 3 points and 2 rebounds in the second half. Senior forward Sydney Green added nine points and six rebounds for the Lady Bears.

Conway grabbed the lead for good at 38-35 when Smith connected on a three-pointer with seven seconds showing in the third quarter. After Green pulled Northside to within 38-37 early in the fourth quarter, the Lady Bears attempted to pressure Conway. The Lady Wampus Cats responded with eight consecutive points.

"We have had a problem of not being able to adjust," Nance said. "When they put on a press like that, it's taken us one or two trips down the court to adjust. We have to adjust the first time we see it and not wait."

Yelder and Alyssa Netherlain started the onslaught with back-to-back three-pointers. Smith beat the pressure for a layup with 5:50 to play to give Conway its biggest lead at 46-37.

From there, offensive rebounding led Conway to its next seven points. Cardrina Nolen was the benefactor of two of the Lady Wampus Cats field goals -- hitting a putback with 3:40 left and completing a three-point play at the 1:49 mark.

Northside got as close as 54-52 with 12 seconds left on a three-pointer by Sara Bershers (8 points, 7 rebounds), but Yelder's free throws three seconds later sealed Conway's victory.

NORTHSIDE (52)

Wolfenbarger 1 0-0 2, Carey 2 0-0 6, Tampus 2 0-0 5, Mays 0 0-0 0, S. Bershers 3 0-0 8, T. Bershers 6 3-4 18, Green 3 3-6 9, Cooksey 0 0-0 0, Coleman 2 0-0 4, Evans 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 6-10 52.

CONWAY (56)

Pickens 2 0-0 4, Roetzel 3 0-0 9, Yelder 3 3-5 11, Smith 5 1-2 13, Nolen 4 1-1 9, Netherlain 2 0-0 6, Chatman 1 2-3 4. Totals 20 7-11 56.

Northside (21-3);12;12;11;17 -- 52

Conway (22-3);16;9;13;18 -- 56

Three-point goals -- Northside 8 (T. Bershers 3, S. Bershers 2, Carey 2, Tampus); Conway 9 (Roetzel 3, Yelder 2, Smith 2, Netherlain 2). Team fouls -- Northside 12, Conway 10.

Sports on 02/14/2018

Print Headline: Conway girls enjoy benefits of rebounding

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