(ST. LOUIS, MO) The St. Louis Surge wanted to make an initial splash at Saturday night’s home opener at Washington University.
For starters, the defending national champions of the Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL) were launching a new partnership with Wash U’s Field House as their 2017 home venue. Also, the squad was undefeated heading into battle against Midwest Division rival Iowa Force.
Consider the Surge’s 113-52 victory a double-win, an inaugural campus court triumph that pushed the team’s record to 6-0.
“We have some great chemistry right now,” said Surge guard Rebecca Harris after the duke. “We’re flowing and playing and acting as a championship team. For everyone here, we probably looked pretty good but we know that we have some things to fine tune.”
Leading 4-3 two minutes in, the Surge constructed a 9-0 run over a ninety-second stretch. Jaleesa Butler’s three-pointer at the 7:45 mark was followed by her lay-up 25 seconds later that pushed St. Louis’ lead to 9-3.
Tori Waldner followed with a back glass bucket that pushed the locals’ lead to 11-3 and Kristi Bellock’s six-foot jumper finished the streak that gave the Surge a 13-3 advantage with 6:25 left in the first quarter.
“For this being our home opener, we wanted to look like our brand,” said Harris of the Surge’s early push. “I kind of wished it would have been a little bit closer early on, but it is what it is.”
The Surge maintained the pressure and widened their lead as the frame progressed. Newcomer Krysten Crawford’s three-pointer at the 2:30 mark widened the score to 21-9 and Leah Cotton’s bucket and free throw converted off of the foul twenty seconds later extended the margin to 24-9.
If that opening stanza wasn’t impressive enough, what followed was certainly eye-popping, a 16-0 sprint out of the second quarter’s gates.
Bianca Latham’s three-pointer launched the run and back-to-back buckets by Cotton widened the Surge’s lead to 36-15 with 8:35 left in the half. Sharise Williams continued the momentum with a three-foot jumper with 8:05 left that made the score 38-15.
Bullock tacked on five straight and with her three-pointer at the 5:21 mark, the Surge pushed the score to 43-15.
Jaleesa Butler’s pair of converted free throws finished the 16-0 run as the Surge led 45-15 with 4:40 left in the half.
Crawford tacked on a trey with :21 left and Williams’ ten-foot buzzer beater finished the Surge’s 30-7 second-quarter output, resulting in the hostesses’ 59-22 lead at intermission.
In the third quarter, the Surge continued its inspired play with a 10-2 opening run that was accented by a Patrice Butler lay-up and a Jordan Jones jumper that made the score 69-24 with 7:20 left.
To their credit, Iowa started to get warm offensively and went on an 8-0 run but back-to-back three-pointers from the Surge’s Harris quickly silenced the Force as St. Louis held a 75-32 advantage midway through the quarter.
St. Louis pushed their lead to fifty points, 84-34, following Harris’ jumper with 2:30 left. The differential was maintained with newcomer Leti Lerma’s two-foot put back as time expired that resulted in the Surge’s 88-38 cushion.
In the fourth quarter, St. Louis saw its talented bench shine as both Williams and Lerma saw their respective outputs for the evening reach double-digits. Lerma’s two-foot jumper recorded with 4:20 remaining netted the Surge three columns of scoreboard bulbs, 100-46.
“We’re just playing Surge basketball,” reflected Lerma. “We were just running.”
Williams rose to the occasion with an eight-point, fourth-quarter ledger. Her lay-up with under a minute left pushed the lead to 111-52.
“It caught me off guard and I wasn’t expecting it,” said Williams of her final frame recorded. “The veterans have been telling me to run the floor with my athleticism and they have been pushing me.”
The Surge outscored the Force 25-14 in the final frame for the 113-52 home victory that pushed the team’s record to 6-0. Six St. Louis players scored double-digits, paced by 16-point outputs from both Bellock and Williams.
The Surge newcomers have adapted to the franchise’s philosophy well. In fact, the six 2017 additions scored over half of the team’s points Saturday.
“I think we’ve done a great job of adding these new pieces and I like them a lot,” said Harris. “They fit right in and we all work well together, so I like it.”
The Surge continues their home campaign this Saturday at 7 p.m. against WBCBL Midwest Division rival Kansas City at the Wash U Field House.
For more information on Surge Basketball, go to their official website.
SCORING (113): Bellock 16, Williams 16, Lerma 15, Cotton 12, Crawford 12. Harris 12, J. Butler 9, P. Butler 8, Waldner 6, Latham 5, Jones 2.
TEAM SHOOTING – FG: 47-100 (47%). 3 PTR: 10-32 (31.3%). FT: 9-12 (75%).
REBOUNDS: 27 OFF, 40 DEF, 67 Total