By Mike Pilosof
Pratt, KS-All she needed was an inch. Give her that, and it's an endless world of possibilities.
On Saturday in Pratt, Akula got that little sliver she'd been desperately seeking throughout the first semester.
The sophomore guard broke the Garden City Community College single-game record by nailing nine 3-pointers, finishing with 28 points as the Broncbusters snapped a two-game skid with a 65-50 come-from-behind victory over Pratt at the Beaver Dome.
"Where has that been?" Garden City Coach Nick Salazar asked with a smile. "She's so streaky and when she gets hot, watch out."
Watch out is right.
Akula saved her best performance for the end of the first semester, helping her team overcome a miserable shooting start.
Garden City (6-6, 4-6) missed seven of their first nine shots and fell behind 19-9. Then the sleeping giant awoke.
Akula opened the second quarter by scoring Garden City's first seven points (two 3-pointers and a free throw) to pull the Broncbusters to within eight. It was part of a sequence where the brown and gold scored 11 straight points to tie the game at 28 and held Pratt (3-10, 2-7) scoreless for more than five minutes.
"Boy did we start off poorly," Salazar said. "You couldn't have started a game worse. Lucky for us, we found our touch."
More specifically, Akula found hers, scoring nine of Garden City's first 11 points in the third quarter to put the Broncbusters up eight. Her 3-pointer at the end of the period gave the Broncbusters a 46-35 edge going into the fourth.
She was far from finished.
Akula stretched the lead to 15 with a trey at the 6:30 mark before breaking Marci Johnson's 17-year old mark for 3-pointers in a game with a triple from 25-feet out with 4:00 to go to make it 60-46.
"The funny thing is, she should have had 10," Salazar said. "That last one she took was all the way in and popped out."
In direct contrast to the first half, Garden City drilled six of their first 11 shots from the floor to begin the second.
"It's amazing what happens when you hit shots," Salazar said with a smirk. "We still didn't shoot it great."
Not by any stretch. Garden City shot just 32 percent and won by 15.
"That might be the first college basketball game in history where a player hit that many 3's and shot that poorly," Salazar said. "And we still won by 15."
Lewis scored nine points and pulled down 13 rebounds for the Broncbusters, who won their second straight game vs. Pratt. Angel Muir recorded a career-high 11 boards.
Jada Catlin tallied a team-best 22 points for the Beavers, who saw their two-game winning streak snapped. Megan Poole, a player that Salazar recruited heavily out of high school, finished with eight on only 3-of-14. She hit her first two shots before misfiring on 11 out of her final 12 while scoring only two points over the final three quarters.
"We did a better job defensively in the second half," Salazar said. "That's the key to our success—good defense."
That defense was nonexistent in the early going as Pratt drained six of their first 12 shots in staking that 19-9 advantage.