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Unlike most teams, No. 1 Young didn’t start its season two weeks ago. Instead the Dolphins kicked off their campaign Thursday showing virtually no signs of rust en route to an easy 63-17 win over visiting Crane.
“Today being our first game actually wasn’t that big of a deal,’’ said Young guard Linnae Harper. “It’s actually good because we have a younger team this year, so we got to practice more together, and that’s always a good thing.’’
The Dolphins rushed out to a 14-0 lead and didn’t allow the Cougars (1-2) to score until there was 3:11 remaining in the opening quarter. Young (1-0) finished the quarter on a 12-3 run to build a 26-5 lead after one.
Young coach Corry Irvin used her subs extensively in the second period and the Dolphins stopped pressing as much, so as not to run up the score. However, that tactic didn’t help short-handed Crane, which was playing without its starting point guard, Shamesha Gill (torn ACL) and her backup, Savanna Yates (suspension). Young managed to hold the visitors to a single point, a free throw by Caprice Spann, with 4:13 remaining in the second quarter.
“This team has a lot of depth and is tall, which is different from last year,’’ said Harper. “We were more guard heavy last year but we will throw more inside because we have a lot of height. It’ll take off some of the pressure off the guards.’’
The Kentucky-bound Harper led the Dolphins with a game-high 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Maya Mckee added 10 points, including eight in a row in the fourth quarter. Spann scored 12 of Crane’s 17 points.