Wilmington, NC - Cape Fear women's basketball competed, but fell to Louisburg College, 99-79. TaKwana Bland led the Sea Devils with 30 points, while Christina Caesar scored 17.
Cape Fear struck first off two free throws from TaKwana Bland, but Louisburg responded with eight straight points before Bland ended the run with a layup. The Sea Devils battled back to cut the deficit to three, but the Hurricanes responded with a four point play after being fouled attempting a 3-pointer, giving them a 15-8 lead.
The Hurricanes were strong on the defensive end, and forced the Sea Devils into a couple of turnovers. Cape Fear struggled defending without fouling, as three players picked up two fouls in the first quarter. Louisburg also dominated the offensive glass, creating a number of second-chance opportunities. These chances came as a result of Louisburg controling the flow of the game, something head coach Lori Drake said helped them have such a good first quarter and half.
"They just pushed the tempo, and we knew that was going to happen, and that we couldn't get into a running game with them. It turned into a track meet, [which is] really hard not to do with them."
Things continued to go Louisburg's way in the second. Cape Fear struggled handling the ball, which led to quick turnovers and layups on the other end, and the Hurricanes were able to build a 19 point lead three minutes into the quarter.
Then, midway through the second, Cape Fear found some life. Starting with a 3-pointer by Christina Caesar, the Sea Devils scored eight straight to cut Louisburg's lead to 11. Bland then converted a traditional three point play on the next possession. Louisburg finally broke the scoring drought, but Destiny Campbell answered with four points, and the Sea Devils trailed by just six. In all, it was a 17-4 run for Cape Fear, but Louisburg managed to slow the comeback, and push their lead back to double-digits, capped off by a layup at the buzzer that gave them a 55-42 lead.
Bland was a bright spot offensively in the first half. She scored 15 points, converting on a number of layups.
After trading buckets to open the third, Christina Caesar scored the next 9 points for the Sea Devils to bring her team within seven. Bland then got in on the action, scoring four points of her own. Cape Fear trailed by just three at this point, and looked a completely different team from the first half.
"We slowed it down, and got some things that we wanted, and really encouraged TaKwana to keep attacking because they couldn't stop her," said Drake of her team's third quarter comeback, adding that they also were able to get stops on the defensive end, which allowed them to chip away and close the gap.
Taylor Foulks brought Cape Fear within two, and the home team appeared primed to take the lead. However, Louisburg finished the quarter strong, going on a 9-2 run to take a 73-64 lead at the end of the third.
Cape Fear remained within striking distance into the early minutes of the fourth, but two 3-pointers from Louisburg pushed their lead to 13. The Sea Devils got out of synch defensively, and the Hurricanes took advantage. Louisburg went on to build a significant lead, putting any potential comeback out of reach.
Fatigue certainly played a factor for Cape Fear, as many of the players logged 30 minutes or more due to a shortened roster.
"Our depth hurts us a little bit," said Drake. She pointed to the off game from Campbell, who fouled out and struggled throughout the game as a factor of that. But Drake also noted that changes have to be made, as Cape Fear will face Louisburg again on February 11th.
"We have to make a change, knowing that this game is going to come around again."\
Cape Fear moves to 15-4 on the season, and 10-2 in conference play.
Their next game is scheduled for Friday, February 3rd, where they will take on Patrick Henry Community College at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.