FAIRFIELD — It might be an overstatement, but if it is, it’s not by much. Lawrence was on a mission Friday night, and Mt. Blue got caught in the middle of that.
In its previous game, Lawrence had dropped a frustrating two-point decision to Edward Little in the only time those teams will meet in the regular season. The Bulldogs took out that frustration at home against Mt. Blue, posting a convincing 63-34 victory.
“We really just wanted to get back into the flow of things,” Lawrence sophomore center Nia Irving said. “We wanted to come out and have hard defense, and we really just wanted to work hard, and to show people that we’re not just a fluke, that we’re actually a team to beat.”
Irving played 20 minutes, and finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds. She was 7 of 10 from the field, and 8 of 10 from the free throw line. Dominique Lewis added 11 points, Paige Belanger finished with nine points and nine rebounds, and Bri Soucy pulled down seven boards.
“We just lost our composure against Edward Little,” Lawrence coach John Donato said. “They had a lot more opportunities down in the end, and they cashed in on them. We had something to prove.”
Mt. Blue is a better team than its 1-3 record, but had an off night while Lawrence was clicking. The Cougars shot 21 percent from the floor and missed some makeable shots, and they were 7 of 21 from the line.
Meanwhile, one of the things the Bulldogs may have been trying to prove is that they’re more than just “The Nia Irving Show.” In the first quarter, Irving had 10 points and 10 rebounds, as Lawrence (4-1) bolted to a 24-8 lead. But Irving also took only four of Lawrence’s 20 field goal attempts during that time, as Lewis, Belanger, Taylor Reynolds, and Jordyn Towers all got involved in the offense.
“Our key thing is to run as a team, play defense as a team, and not depend on one individual,” Donato said. “Sure, Nia is our mainstay. But we’ve got to spread it around, so when she’s not having a good day, we can put a lot of points (up).”
Lawrence led 36-17 at halftime and 57-28 after three quarters. Addie Brinkman, Caitlin Kane, Emily Knowles, and Miranda Nicely all tied for the Mt. Blue lead with six points apiece.