Bland's 24 leads Cape Fear past Brunswick C.C.

Cape Fear Hoops

Wilmington, NC - Cape Fear women's basketball defeated conference rival Brunswick Community College, 77-59, Thursday night. TaKwana Bland led the team with 24 points and 9 rebounds, while Taylor Foulks finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Despite the final scoreline, the result was in doubt in the early minutes. Cape Fear struggled to make shots in the first quarter, knocking down just two of their first eight. The Dolphins found it a little easier on their end, and jumped out to a 16-4 lead.

Head coach Lori Drake was critical of her team's start, stating her team has to play with more intensity consistently, with teams coming at them game after game.

"Being great is a habit, so if you only want to do it sometimes, then you're just settling to be mediocre."

Brunswick maintained around a 10 point lead for most of the quarter, but the Sea Devils rallied in the final minute, and were able to cut Brunswick's lead to just four.

The rally continued into the second, and a layup by TaKwana Bland tied the game up at 20-20 two minutes in. After an off game on Tuesday, Bland responded with a strong first half performance that  lead to her game high of 24.

Following Bland's layup, Jalessa Dillard knocked down a 3-pointer to give Cape Fear its first lead of the game. The Sea Devils scored 15 straight before the Dolphins hit a jumper to end the run. With their first quarter struggles behind them, Cape Fear's lead extended to eight with around three minutes remaining in the half. Brunswick briefly brought the lead down to four, ended the half another big run, and went into halftime leading, 47-31.

The second half started slowly for the Sea Devils, who scored just two points in the first three minutes. That said, Brunswick wasn't able to make up a lot of ground, and Cape Fear maintained a 14 point lead. Bland continued to lead the way, attacking the hoop relentlessly.

Cape Fear's lead came despite an off night from Destiny Campbell, who finished with just four points and three rebounds. Stepping up in her place was Taylor Foulks, who cleaned up the glass with eight offensive rebounds.

Coach Drake cited again her team's ability to step up when a star has an off night.

"I want her to show up like that every night. Tay stepped up, and that's the best we've seen her play probably in the last three or four games."

While the third quarter was more competitive, Cape Fear still came out on top, and headed into the fourth leading by 19.

The rest of the game went smoothly, with Cape Fear's lead remaining well over 20 points.

Next up is a rematch with Louisburg, who are second in conference. Knowing how they can be, Drake wants her team to be prepared.

"They're going to come at us, and we know that. They're coming off of a loss, so our biggest thing is staying focused, not put too much pressure on our shoulders, and play our game."

Cape Fear improves to 18-4 overall, and 13-2 in conference play.

Their next game is scheduled for Saturday, December 11th, where they will hit the road to take on Louisburg College at 1 p.m.

Courtesy of Nick Denning