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Generosity was short-lived for Brunswick Community College’s women’s basketball team during its venture into international basketball on Jan. 3.
The Lady Dolphins gave the Australian Traveling Team gifts and then took the ball away 26 times on their way to a 73-47 win.
BCC’s players gave the visiting Aussies each a 6-inch long stuffed-animal dolphin, some blue and some gray, as a souvenir. The guests were also welcomed with the playing of the Australian national anthem before “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Once the opening tip went up, all goodwill ended as the Dolphins pickpocketed the Eagles for the next 40 minutes. Making clean steals without reaching in and fouling, the Dolphins were led by Jeannette Taylor with seven steals (six in the first 14 minutes) and Tyesha McLean with six thefts.
Still, the Eagles trailed only 13-12 with 9:15 left before halftime before the Dolphins went on a 14-point run triggered by four steals, and the game was never close again.
“The Dolphins started out a bit stronger than we did,” said Australian Traveling Team coach Pete Herrick. “We were a little lethargic.”
The team had arrived in Bolivia two hours late because its rental vans weren’t ready in Charlotte. The Aussies had been in New York City for four days.
“We did New Year’s Eve in Times Square,” Herrick said with a big grin. “We also went to the World Trade Center site and the Statue of Liberty.”
Cape Fear Community College was supposed to play Australia Traveling Team 1, but because it was late, Cape Fear instead played Australia Traveling Team 2. The Team 2 Aussies are 13-17 years old, and Cape Fear romped 79-38.
BCC switched places and played Australia Team 1, whose players are 16-18 years old, and the 5 p.m. game started at 7 p.m. instead.
When the visitors with Russell Crowe accents finally arrived, the Dolphins were ready.
“They had some good shooters,” Herrick said.
Three Dolpins scored in double figures: Shanita Hampton with 15 (including a spectacular reverse layup), Kenedra Smith 14 and Syerra Troutman 13. Nine BCC players put points on the scoreboard.
“We shared the ball really well tonight,” said BCC coach Joe Gaughan. “And our defensive intensity is back.
“We played a little bit tired during the holiday tournament. The Christmas break did our players some good. We’ve got our energy back.”
The defensive intensity applied to both half-court and full-court pressure.
Besides Taylor’s seven steals and McLean’s six, Monica Smalls and Troutman had three thefts apiece, Emily Jackson and Kima Sidberry two each and Smith one.
“Kima Sidberry played really well,” Gaughan said. “So did our two post players, Monica Smalls and Kenedra Smith.
“Jeannette Taylor is playing some of her best ball. She’s going to be a great pickup for somebody next year.”
The spurt that put the game out of reach for the junior-college team started with a blocked shot by Smalls and included two steals by Taylor and one each by Sidberry and Troutman.
The only flaw in the Dolphins’ arsenal was hitting 16 of 28 free throws. The Eagles also missed a dozen from the charity stripe but took only 17.
The Aussies wore blue V-necked jerseys, but their uniform shorts were as short as the ones American players wore from the 1960s through the mid-80s. The Dolphins’ uniform shorts were twice as long as the Aussies’.
Basketball rules were pretty much the same although public-address announcer Tommy Robinson looked surprised when an Australian player ran to the scorer’s table and yelled, “Timeout!” while the ball was in play.
“You have to tell the ref,” Robinson told her.
“Timeout,” the Australian player said, turning to the referee.
“You have to wait for a dead ball,” Robinson told the Aussie player in a gracious manner.
The referee blew his whistle for a timeout when play stopped.
Other things are more universal.
What else did the Australian traveling players do when they were in New York?
“They went shopping, which the girls loved,” Herrick said.
They bought clothes, right?
“All clothes,” Herrick said, grinning.
Australia TT 18 29—47
Brunswick CC 34 39—73
ATT—Sophie Anderson 16 (2 3-pointers), Hannah Berry 10, Morgan Elvin 4, Rebecca Lee 4, Sarah Taylor 4, Renee Duffy 3, Claire King 2, Meg Dowley, 2, Renee Polyak 2.
BCC—Shanita Hampton 15 (3-pointer), Kenedra Smith 14, Syerra Troutman 13, Emily Jackson 7, Kima Sidberry 7 (3-pointer), Tyesha McLean 6, Crystal Hicks 5
(3-pointer), Jennette Taylor 4, Monica Smalls 2.
Sarah Sue Ingram, a member of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame board of directors, is a sports correspondent for the Beacon.