MeMe Jackson (left), Jantel Lavender (center), Rebecca Harris (right)

Team Harrison defeats Team Russell in dominant 100-74 victory

MeMe Jackson (left), Jantel Lavender (center), Rebecca Harris (right) © Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2022 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
W.G. Ramirez
Feb 05, 2022

LAS VEGAS — It was bound to happen, at some point during 30 games.

In the 11th edition of Athletes Unlimited Basketball, Team Harrison served the first blowout of the season, a 100-74 rout of Team Russell on Saturday night at Athletes Unlimited Arena at Sport Center of Las Vegas. It was the largest margin of victory this season.

Five players scored in double figures for Team Harrison, led by Jantel Lavender and Odyssey Sims, who each scored 17. Lavender, whose tally was a season-high, added eight rebounds, while Sims grabbed six boards. Dominique Wilson had 15 points, Courtney Williams contributed with 14 and Akela Maize chipped in with 11. Williams also had a season-high 10 assists to post her first double-double of the season

Team Harrison, which became the sixth team to reach the 100-point plateau this season, shot 58.2% from the field, the highest mark by a team this season. Team Harrison was also 14 of 14 from the free-throw line. Team Harrison also out-rebounded Team Russell, 40-28.

Captain Isabelle Harrison, the league’s leading scorer at 22.6 points per game entering Saturday’s action, was limited to a season-low four points on 2 of 4 shooting from the field, which was fine considering her players stepped up.

“I was telling Izzy she was the coach for tonight instead of a player,” Wilson said. “It’s draining on (captains). I couldn’t imagine trying to play and to sub people in. I think Izzy just stepped back and just let everybody play.”

For Burkholder, she suffered through four straight losses from Week 1 through Wednesday and was ecstatic to have consecutive wins after Team Harrison’s win over Natasha Cloud’s squad Friday.

“(Friday) just had our momentum going for this game and we wanted to finish the week off strong,” said Burkholder, whose nine points were a season-high and came in the second quarter.

Team Russell was led by captain Mercedes Russell, who had 20 points and eight rebounds. Sydney Colson had 14 points and five assists, while Rebecca Harris and MeMe Jackson each had 10 points.

Team Russell lost all three of its games this week and became the second team to go winless in a single week.

“We came out with what we had, we were down to eight, we came out and we played as hard as we could,” Russell said. “We came up short, which is alright. It’s obviously the third game this week, bodies are tired, mentally we’re tired, but I think we came out and we still competed… for a few quarters.”

Team Russell opened the game with a 10-5 run thanks to a pair of 3s by Jackson, but Team Harrison quickly responded with a 9-0 run, sparked by Lavender. From there neither team ever led by more than four points the rest of the quarter, as they traded buckets down the stretch. Russell had eight of her team’s final 12 points of the quarter, which saw her squad shoot 55.6% (10 of 18) from the floor. Team Harrison hit 9 of 18 (50.0%) from the field in the opening stanza.

Team Russell did its best to make a run at Team Harrison in the second quarter, creeping ahead to a 30-28 lead after opening the period on an 8-4 run. But it was quite apparent who would dominate the rest of the way, as Burkholder scored Team Harrison’s next seven points, igniting a first-half ending 26-6 run. Team Harrison shot the lights out in the second quarter, hitting 11 of 16 (68.8%), and that was with a measly 1 for 2 showing from 3-point range. On the flipside, Team Russell struggled from the field, hitting 6 of 19 (31.6%) in the middle frame.

Though Team Russell improved to 46.7% shooting in the third quarter and won the period 20-17, they couldn’t get on a run and silence Team Harrison simultaneously to get back into the game. Sims hit a pair of key 3-pointers late in the third to keep the tempo on Team Harrison’s side. The only bright side to that point for Team Russell was it had outscored Team Harrison in the paint, 26-16. The x-factor for Team Harrison at the end of the third, however, was bench scoring. While Team Harrison led by 15, at 71-56, its bench outscored Team Russell’s by 16, a huge 20-4 mismatch.

NOTES: Lavender secured 90 additional points from being named MVP 1. She finished the night with 541 points overall. Maize, who was named MVP 2, earned 408 points on the night. Earning 30 additional points was Russell, who tallied 299 points.

Team Harrison earned 150 points from its first, second and fourth quarter wins, and 100 points for winning the game. Team Russell earned 50 points for its third quarter win.

Williams, who missed Week 1, joins guards Natasha Cloud and Odyssey Sims as the only players to dish out 10 or more assists in a game this season. … Sims has scored in double digits in all six games she’s played.

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