But, Bell and her mates rallied to even the score in the closing moments before a three-pointer by forward Kristi Bellock spoiled the comeback bid as Team Smith held on for a 93-90 victory in the Week Four opener on Wednesday night at Fair Park Coliseum.
Bellock, who matched her season high with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, was named MVP 1 after her game-deciding triple and finished with 465 leaderboard points.
Guard Kelsey Mitchell, who earned the assist on the Bellock three-pointer, claimed her league-high eighth Game MVP award of the season with the MVP 2 honor. The former Ohio State standout was 7-of-16 from the field, including a 3-for-6 performance from beyond the arc, also notched eight assists en route to a game-high 507 leaderboard points.
Forward Isabelle Harrison led Team Bell in a losing effort to secure MVP 3 distinction, making 14-of-21 field goal attempts en route to a 31-point performance. Harrison, who tallied 486 leaderboard points in the setback, also grabbed eight rebounds with three assists.
After guard Evina Westbrook tied the game at 90-90 with a pair of free throws with 22 seconds remaining, Bellock secured the victory by taking a pass from Mitchell and draining a three-pointer from the right wing with 2.9 seconds remaining.
Forward NaLyssa Smith reclaimed the top spot on the leaderboard after her 442-point performance on Wednesday night, which included tying the league single-game record with 18 rebounds. Mitchell rose up the league standings four spots and holds fourth place with 3,916 points pending the result of Wednesday’s second game between Team Sims and Team Hillmon. Harrison slipped into third place on the leaderboard with a 30-point edge over Mitchell.
Team Bell and Team Smith combined to make 19 three-pointers in Wednesday’s Week Four opener, running the league’s season total to 293 through 19 games … Aspiration is committed to planting 10 trees for every three-pointer made this season as part of its ‘Trees for Threes’ initiative.
Both teams initiated a challenge during the game … Team Smith challenged an out-of-bounds call with 1:05 remaining in the second quarter, which was unsuccessful … In addition, Team Bell challenged a defensive foul called against guard Lexie Hull with 1:40 left in the third quarter, which was also unsuccessful … Teams are now 11-of-25 (.440) in captain’s challenges this season.
Team Smith and Team Bell combined to dish out 49 assists in Wednesday’s Week Four opener, marking the second-highest combined total in a game this season … Team Cole and Team Sims had 50 assists in their Feb. 24 game, while Team Williams and Team Sims teamed up for 47 helpers in the season opener on Feb. 23.
Team Smith led Team Bell by a 30-8 margin after the first quarter, marking the largest quarter margin in a game this season … The previous largest margin was a 17-point margin by Team Mitchell in the second quarter against Team Sims on March 8.
The 22-point margin in the first quarter was one point shy of the league record, which was a 23-point advantage by Team Cloud (33-10) in the second quarter of its Feb. 23, 2022, game against Team Harrison.
In addition, Team Bell’s eight points are the fewest scored by a team in the opening quarter in league history, eclipsing the nine points registered by Team Sims against Team Hillmon on March 10, 2023.
Smith tied the Athletes Unlimited Basketball single-game record with 18 rebounds in the victory, matching the mark set by forward Tianna Hawkins on Feb. 26, 2022, against Team Cloud.
Smith authored her league-leading ninth double-double of the season after posting 17 points with 11 rebounds in the first half … Smith’s 11 rebounds in the first half are tied for the most by a player in a half this season, equaling the 11 boards by guard Crystal Bradford in the second half against Team Sims on Feb. 24.
Smith also recorded the fourth double-digit rebound effort by a player in a half in league history.
Smith posted her second game with 20 or more points and 15 or more rebounds this season … It is the fourth time in league history a player has fashioned an effort with 20+ points and 15+ rebounds.
In addition, Smith tied guard Odyssey Sims for the most 20-point outings this season after notching her eighth in 10 appearances.
Guard Sydney Colson posted her third game with seven or more assists this season … The former Texas A&M standout owns 10 outings with seven or more assists in her Athletes Unlimited Basketball career … Colson is the third player in league history with 10 or more games with seven or more assists, joining Sims (12) and guard Natasha Cloud (12).
Colson also matched her Athletes Unlimited single-game high by scoring 20 points, knocking down 8-of-12 field goal attempts, including 4-of-5 three-point attempts … It is the third time she has tallied 20 points in a contest.
Harrison registered her 14th consecutive double-digit scoring effort in Wednesday’s opener … She also posted 20 or more points for the 13th time in her Athletes Unlimited career, marking the second-highest total in league history, along with her third 30-point effort … All three of her 30-point outbursts have come this season.
Guard Lexie Brown had her fifth double-digit scoring performance in seven games this year following a 12-point performance … Brown was 5-of-9 from the field, including a 2-for-5 showing from long range, while adding four rebounds and four assists.
Westbrook reached double digits in scoring for the second time this season after finishing with a season-high 21 points … Westbrook also had 16 points on Feb. 26 against Team Cole.
Hull finished with 11 points in Wednesday’s contest, signaling her sixth double-digit performance of the season … She just missed a double-double after leading Team Bell with nine rebounds.
- #1 – Kristi Bellock (Team Smith +90)
- #2 – Kelsey Mitchell (Team Smith, +60)
- #3 – Isabelle Harrison (Team Bell, +30)
Kierstan Bell continues first pro year with AU Hoops
© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Krystina Brown
Air Hearn Savoring Second Swim Through AU Waters
© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
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© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: MK Ridgway
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