Despite its relative lack of size – aside from Kelsey Stumbo, the only listed center on its roster – East Carter can play sticky pressure defense, which has gotten Bradley’s attention.
“Lewis and Fleming are very physical teams, and they’ll get after you,” the Ashland coach said. “East is just as physical, and we have to match that tomorrow night or we don’t have a chance.”
East Carter has won both games between the teams this season, prevailing 48-47 on Jan. 30 in Grayson and 71-60 on Feb. 20 in Ashland.
That amounts to nothing tonight, obviously. It’s just one game with a trip to Diddle Arena on the line.
“There’s no secrets,” Easterling said. “They know what we’re gonna try to do; we know what they’re gonna try to do. It’s how you play tomorrow night. It’s who gets out there and does what they do best and imposes their will on the other team that is gonna walk away with the win.”
If nothing else, though, those games did show East Carter what it can do successfully against Ashland, and consequently gave the Kittens an idea what they needed to shore up to play well tonight.
“We have to be more aggressive going to the basket,” Bradley said. “I thought we got a little passive the first game. I thought our second game we did go to the basket a lot better, and I thought our defense wasn’t very good the second half.”
The 60 points Ashland put up on East Carter the second time were nearly 20 more than what the Lady Raiders are yielding on average per game.
“They’re very talented. They present so many problems offensively,” Easterling said of the Kittens. “You start with (point guard Alexis) Robinson, who can just break you down in the lane and get to the free throw line. The other Robinson, Mykasa, she’s coming on now, she made some 3s tonight, (Chelsea) Woodson can knock down shots, and (Shelby) Gransbery’s looking to take the ball to the basket more.