FLORENCE — North Alabama women’s coach Terry Fowler was looking for an improved defensive effort Monday night as the Lions played host to Lane College.
Fowler got exactly what he wanted as the Lions held Lane to 18.5 percent shooting as UNA crushed the Dragons 77-29.
The Lions (5-2) led by 25 at halftime and quickly put it out of reach in the second half as they tuned up for Thursday’s Gulf South Conference opener against West Florida.
“We really put an emphasis on the defensive end of the floor tonight,” Fowler said. “Our opponents were shooting 37.5 percent against us, which is next to last in the conference. We’ve got to get that down in the low 30’s if we’re going to compete in our conference.
“I thought we got after them defensively from the start. We made them earn every basket.”
While defense was UNA’s emphasis the Lions also played well offensively. UNA was able to get several easy baskets in transition and shot 50 percent overall. The Lions forced the Dragons (0-2) into 29 turnovers.
Sarah Bailey got the Lions off to a good start by scoring eight straight points in a 10-0 spurt that put UNA up 12-2.
Lane battled back to trim the margin to 15-8 before UNA took over. Jennifer Towne hit a 3-pointer to ignite a 16-0 run that extended the lead to 31-8. Corinne White and Mekena Randle each had four points in the spurt.
White made a transition layup and Abby Andrews hit a jumper to close the half and send UNA into halftime with a commanding 37-12 lead.
Delisa Madry hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second half and Lauren Faris added another as the Lions quickly put it completely out of reach and cruised to the victory.
Randle led UNA with 16 points and 11 rebounds. White added 12 points and Madry chipped in with 11.
“Corinne really played like a post player should play tonight,” Fowler said. “She played under control and with a lot of intensity.
“Madry also came in and played really well. She’s had four really good practices in a row and she deserved to play. It was good to see her take advantage of the opportunity.”
UNA now turns its attention to conference play with West Florida visiting Flowers Hall on Thursday and Valdosta State coming in Saturday.
“We’ve told the girls that the intensity is about to reach a different level,” Fowler said. “It will be a new experience for many of them.”
Jeff McIntyre can be reached at 256-740-5737 or jeff.mcintyre@TimesDaily.com.