Stevenson's post play frustrates Hampshire
Stevenson junior forward Emory Klatt outscored Hampshire in the first quarter with eight points and was tough on the glass with seven rebounds.
The Whip-Purs clamped down and held Klatt without another field goal after that, but keeping senior Kate Arne in check was another story.
As Hampshire's attention turned to Klatt, Arne erupted for 10 points in the second quarter. The 6-foot-2 forward went on to score a game-high 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting as Stevenson coasted to a 53-42 win in their nonconference game Thursday afternoon.
Hampshire had no answers inside for Arne and Klatt.
"It's probably not nice for opponents, but it's super nice as a coach," Patriots coach Ashley Graham said. "They make you look good. Just two super talented players who play to their strengths and physicality. And let's give credit where it's due. They shoot the ball well, too."
Arne and Klatt, who had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, combined for 37 of Stevenson's 53 points. Arne knocked down seven of her final eight shots, with many coming right under the basket.
The Patriots (12-6) took a 35-18 lead into halftime as Hampshire struggled to slow down Stevenson's talented post players.
"They're just really good at converting. When they get in the paint, they tend to produce and score," said Hampshire junior guard Ashley Herzing, who had 13 points and two 3s. "Emory is really good. She's strong and hard to push out of the box. I think [Arne] kind of slipped away from us. We focused on [Klatt] and [Arne] probably got extra points that we could have stopped.
"They're both very talented, very athletic."
Arne said the Patriots looked to take advantage of their size early.
It's a formula that has worked well in recent wins for the Patriots, who were coming off a third-place finish at Dundee-Crown's Komaromy Classic.
"It was written on the white board to start the year off right," Arne said. "Offensively, one of our goals is to get good looks inside because we do have great size. Emory is the best. Her and I have been together for three years. We're able to work really well together and we have great chemistry. It's been amazing working with her and seeing her grow since her freshman year."
Graham was happy to see the ball go inside.
"We knew it was going to be a battle," Graham said. "I thought Kate Arne had a tremendous game. We got the ball where we needed to get it."
Kendell Williams added six points and three assists for Stevenson. Nisha Musunuri and Sydney Rosland had five points apiece.
Lia Saunders was second on the Whips (11-7) with eight points. Avery Cartee chipped in six and Ceili Ramirez had five.
Hampshire fared much better defensively in the second half, holding the Patriots to nine points in both the third and fourth quarters. The Whips outscored Stevenson 24-18 over the final 16 minutes.
"I thought our guards did a good job against their guards and frustrating them a bit in the second half," said Hampshire coach Eric Samuelson, who noted Ramirez's strong defensive effort. "They didn't have many easy passes to the post. Unfortunately, the game got away from us early."
Samuelson would like to see his team compete for a full four quarters going forward.
"I thought we played three good quarters, and I thought we played hard in the second half," Samuelson said. "We've just got to put together four good quarters. I really believe in these girls. We just need them to find that inner fire and believe in themselves."
Graham thinks the Patriots, last year's Class 4A state champion, are close to turning a corner.
"I just want to see their belief and their intensity not let up," Graham said. "I just want to see us continue to grow. I think we're right there. We're on the verge. After this weekend, we only have 11 regular-season games left. We're just excited for the second half."