Bryanna Sanders made Tuesday night's home game vs. Oglethorpe County look like pre-game shootaround.
The junior outscored the Patriots, dropping 32 points in the Tigers' 54-23 win. Maggie Mullis and Lauren Massey contributed six points apiece.
Commerce (2-0) started the game on a 15-0 run and ended the first half up 34-9. Sanders scored 19 points in the first half.
Oglethorpe County didn't score a point until 1:52 left in the first quarter. It was the only Patriot points in the first quarter.
Despite garnering a big lead early in the game, an early timeout from head coach Brad Puckett is what the team needed to regain its focus.
"I felt like we started out really, really well," Puckett said. "And then, defensively, we started standing around, because we had a lead and we felt like we could. I called a timeout and said, ‘We’re not going to start reaching for the ball and trying to get a steal on every single pass just because you’ve gotten some already. We want to continue to be fundamentally sound.’ So, after that timeout, I felt like they came out and picked it back up."
On offense, Puckett said his group "executed" the plays that were called.
"We weren’t playing streetball, we were running our offense," he said. "Some of the shots fell, some didn’t. We’ve got some things to work on there. We missed a lot of layups. But overall I was really, really pleased."
Sanders scored 12 of the team's 17 first-quarter points. In the second frame, the team scored another 17 points with Sanders dropping seven points including five of the last seven. Sarah Webb hit a bucket off a Sanders miss near the buzzer to send the game to intermission with Commerce up 34-9.
After the break, Sanders' hot hand was still warm as she dropped eight points including two 3-pointers to open the second half. Then, four made free throws from Carson Hobbs and Mullis helped Commerce take a 47-13 lead into the final quarter.
Sanders opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and two-point play. Mullis scored the final two points from the free-throw line.
"We talked in the locker room about not looking back and not standing still; constantly moving forward," Puckett said. "I feel like we’ve got a pretty good team here. What we lack in depth, we make up for with heart and effort. That’s been a topic of emphasis for us all (offseason) was giving perfect effort and playing with a lot of heart.
"I feel like they’re doing that ... I’m pleased right now. We’re not where we want to be, but we just have to keep on moving forward and keep on getting better. We talk about when you come in the gym, ‘Are you spending your time or are you investing your time?’ Investing your time means that you’re putting something into it that you’re going to get back, something positive you’re going to get out of it. Every practice we emphasize investing time, not just spending time in the gym. That’s a point of emphasis for us as well.”