By KEVIN THOMPSON
ULYSSES Bigger. Stronger. Faster.
And on Tuesday just plain better.
Garden City used a strong team performance to overwhelm the Ulysses Lady Tigers 71-22 here Tuesday night.
In doing so, the Lady Buffs ended a five-game losing skid and made a statement not to just upcoming opponents, but more importantly, to themselves.
All but one Lady Buff got in the scoring action, led by Cydnie Brown's 16, followed by Kristen Heiman with 12 and Traci Martinez with 10.
Johna McClelland and Taryn Temple tossed in nine points each for good measure.
Meanwhile, the Garden City defense limited Ulysses to points from just three girls.
It was Heiman who electrified the Garden City squad, as she hit three-of-four three-pointers in the first quarter, the first adding a free throw for a rare four-point play that gave the Buffs the lead for good at 10-8. From then on, it was all Garden City.
"They executed our game plan, which was to go out and live off our defense," said Lady Buffs coach David Upton. "Our defense kind of feeds us and we were able to get that defensive flow and defensive intensity early."
More specifically, and more importantly, Heiman's first shot was the spark coach David Upton has been looking for since before the Christmas break.
"Kristen knocks down a three-pointer and I could just see everybody's enthusiasm start to rise because those are shots we've been missing the last four or five games," Upton said. "When that shot went down, the whole bench jumped up and applauded."
Both teams had traded free throws to open the game, but Kaylea Britton's offensive put-back and free throw gave the Lady Tigers a 5-4 edge. Samantha Monzon nailed a three to put the Tigers up by four.
Then Garden City took over, scoring 15 of the next 16 points before Monzon's three at the buzzer.
Up only seven after the first quarter, Upton said he told his team that this was the time to send a message and make their statement. Five minutes later, they had doubled their points.
The Lady Buffs then took that 19-12 lead into the second quarter and went on a 19-0 run, spreading the scoring among six players while the defense held the Tigers to just one field goal and forced six turnovers.
Buffs 40, Tigers 15. And that was just at halftime.
They outscored Ulysses 21-7 in the third and 10-0 in a running-clock fourth quarter. That included a 27-2 run to close the game.
Garden City (4-7) shot 44 percent from the field, hitting 26-of-59 shots. They also hit 15-of-19 free throws.
Ulysses (1-9), on the other hand, made only seven field goals.
Credit the rebounding for much of that, as Garden City pulled down 35 to Ulysses' 16 boards.
Garden City sophomore Johna McClelland, a 6-2 post who came off the bench and ran the floor hard, was a pleasant surprise.
McClelland finished with her nine points, five rebounds and a blocked shot.
Junior Megan Donaho, making her first varsity start, was a great floor leader, Upton said.
This was Garden City's highest output of the season. In their five-game losing streak, they'd only averaged 32 points, but they knew they were better than that.
The momentum actually started in the second half of Saturday's loss at Andover.
"Kristen actually called this game after the Andover game on Saturday," he said. "She got up and and said that this game (against Ulysses) was a statement game. When we go out and dominate, that's a statement."
Garden City 19 21 21 10 -- 71
Ulysses 12 3 7 0 -- 22
Garden City McClelland 4-5 1-2 9, Campbell 2-2 1-2 5, Donaho 3-6 0-0 6, Heiman 4-13 1-1 12, Munoz 1-3 0-0 2, Temple 3-8 3-3 9, Brown 6-8 4-4 16, Heatwole 0-0 0-0 0, Martinez 3-5 3-3 10. Totals 26-59 15-19 71.
Ulysses Calderwood 0 0-2 0, V. Monzon 0-7 0-0 0, Baldwin 0-1 0-0 0, Branscum 0-1 0-0 0, Urbina 0-2 0-0 0, Chavez 1-1 1-3 3, S. Monzon 3-8 1-2 11, Britton 2-8 3-5 8. Totals 7-28 5-11 22.
3-point goals Garden City 4-11 (Heiman 3, Martinez 1), Ulysses 3-11 (S.Monzon 2, Britton 1). Rebounds Garden City 35 (Martinez 8), Ulysses 16 ( Britton 7). Turnovers Garden City 9, Ulysses 30. Fouls Garden City 13, Ulysses 15. Fouled out none.