The squad used a strong start and four players scoring in double figures to claim its second consecutive victory with a 101-83 verdict over Team Mitchell. The win upped Team Smith’s record to 2-0 on the week, while Team Mitchell suffered its second consecutive setback.
Forward NaLyssa Smith captained her unit to the victory to earn MVP 1 honors after scoring a team-high 23 points with a game-high 14 rebounds. The former Baylor star finished the night with 615 leaderboard points, marking her third outing with 600 or more leaderboard points this season.
Guard Crystal Bradford followed with 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field, including a pair of three-pointers, while adding nine rebounds en route to MVP 2 distinction. Bradford set a season high with 567 leaderboard points, including 207 stat points.
Guard Taj Cole paced Team Mitchell in the setback with an Athletes Unlimited career-high 29 points off the bench, making 8-of-16 shots from the field along with an 11-for-12 effort from the free throw line. Cole, who also added six rebounds and four assists, finished the night with 335 leaderboard points and secured her first Game MVP award of the season as the MVP 3 pick.
Leading by a slim 10-9 margin in the opening four minutes, Team Smith ended the opening frame with a 19-6 run to take a 29-15 lead it did not relinquish. Guard Air Hearn led the charge with seven of her 16 points during the outburst.
The win allowed Smith to reclaim her spot at the top of the leaderboard pending the result of Friday’s nightcap between Team Hillmon and Team Sims, while guard Lexie Hull moved into third place in the league standings. Forward Theresa Plaisance, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds, also elevated her position by three spots and closed the game in fifth place.
Team Mitchell and Team Smith combined to make 17 three-pointers during Friday’s opener, upping the league’s season total to 222 through 15 games … Aspiration is committed to planting 10 trees for every three-pointer made during the season as part of its ‘Trees for Threes’ initiative.
Each team initiated a challenge during the game … Team Mitchell challenged a foul called against Mitchell with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter, which was unsuccessful … In addition, Team Smith challenged an out of bounds call with 1:55 left in the third period, which was successful … Teams are now 10-for-22 (.455) in captain’s challenges this season.
Team Mitchell and Team Smith combined to make their first 25 free throws in the game before guard Kelsey Mitchell missed an and-one opportunity with 9:09 left in the fourth quarter … The miss also snapped a streak of 16 consecutive made foul shots for Mitchell.
Team Mitchell has been held to just 27 points in the first quarter of its two games this week … In addition, the squad, which has been outscored by a 47-27 count in the opening frame, has shot just 29.4 percent (10-for-34) from the field in the first 10 minutes of those games.
Team Smith led Team Mitchell by 22 points (55-33) at the intermission, tying for the second-highest halftime lead in Athletes Unlimited Basketball history … Team Cloud owned a 23-point cushion (55-32) over Team Harrison on Feb. 23, 2022, while Team Harrison had a 22-point edge against Team Hawkins on Feb. 9, 2022.
In addition, Team Smith’s 55 points in the first half tied the highest scoring output in the opening 20 minutes this season … Team Hillmon erupted for 55 points against Team Smith in a 95-92 setback on March 4 … The 55 points by Team Smith are tied for the second-highest total in a first half in league history … The league record is 57 points in the first half by Team Cloud on Feb. 18, 2022, against Team Hawkins.
Team Mitchell netted 31 points in the fourth quarter, marking the most points by a team in the final period this season … The previous high was 30 points by Team Williams on Feb. 26 against Team Cole.
Mitchell was held to an Athletes Unlimited career-low nine points in the loss against Team Smith, marking the first time she has failed to score in double figures in her 19-game Athletes Unlimited career.
Bradford has scored in double figures in 7-of-8 games this season … The Central Michigan standout also hit the 20-point mark for the first time since opening the season with 21 points against Team Cloud on Feb. 23.
Smith, who owns a league-high seven games with 20 or more points this season, extended her streak of consecutive games with 10 or more points to eight in a row following her 23-point performance on Friday night … In addition, she earned her seventh double-double in eight games with a game-high 14 rebounds.
Cole authored her third double-digit scoring effort in the last four outings and also reached the 20-point plateau for the seventh time in her Athletes Unlimited career.
Plaisance is 11-for-24 from three-point range over her last four games after a 4-of-9 effort in Friday’s victory … The four made triples matched a season high for Plaisance, who also had four made three-pointers against Team Sims in the season opener.
Guard/forward Ty Young fashioned her third double-digit scoring performance of the season with 12 points off the bench … Young was 5-of-11 from the field, including a 1-for-2 effort from long range, and split her two free throws.
- #1 – NaLyssa Smith (Team Smith, +90)
- #2 – Crystal Bradford (Team Smith, +60)
- #3 – Taj Cole (Team Mitchell, +30)
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© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: MK Ridgway
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