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Cain starts slowly, but finishes strong

January 20, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

Hagerstown Community College guard Sam Cain is used to needing a few warm-up shots before finding her rhythm.

But once she gets her shot in flow, it's tough to stop it.

Ten minutes passed as Cain missed her first four shots Friday night, but when Marisa Elliot found her cutting to the basket for a layup, it was the spark that lit the flame.

Cain went on to score 19 points in the first half - hitting four 3s in a four-minute span - to lead the Hawks to a 76-51 Maryland JuCo win.

"I get cold at the beginning of games all the time. I don't know what it is," said Cain, who finished with a game-high 23 points. "Then once I hit a couple of shots, I'm usually fine.

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"On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, we all usually start slow. I don't know, I guess it's because nobody has classes."

The Hawks (15-3, 8-1) trailed by as many as nine in the early minutes of action before Cain's first basket pulled HCC within four at 16-12. She hit a foul shot before draining her first 3, giving HCC a 17-16 lead with 7:21 remaining - the first Hawks lead since 3-2.

Cain hit 3s on three of the next five HCC possessions as the Hawks pulled ahead, 30-21.

"That's my shot," Cain said. "I think I'm better at shooting 3s than I am at shooting 2s."

The Owls (7-9, 3-5) missed 14 of their last 17 shots in the first half and the Hawks closed the half with the last eight points - Cain scored four - to take a 38-23 lead at halftime.

"(Cain) was on fire in the first half," said Hawks coach Marlys Palmer. "We don't really think of her as a streaky shooter, but she's definitely a shooter. We always want to get her the ball."

Alicia Myers saw extended action in the first half and assisted on two of Cain's 3s. She also drained a shot from long-range and finished with seven points and five assists.

"When Alicia and Sam were on the floor together, it really got us going," Palmer said. "We changed the lineup around a little more to find what was working."

HCC's lead never dipped below 15 points in the second half as it dominated the boards on both ends. The Hawks outrebounded Prince George's 50-35, with Jamie Robinson hauling in 15.

"(Rebounding) is something that we always want to do," Palmer said. "We expected it to be physical and Jamie was strong underneath."

Robinson and Latoya Buckner each chipped in with eight points. Buckner added three blocks, including a crowd pleaser in the second half when she sent a Tiffany Edmundson shot sailing backwards.

Edmundson was the top scorer for Prince George's with 13, while Tamika Jeffries added nine - all in the first half.

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