Freshman guard Nikki Beall said the Anne Arundel Community College women's basketball team wanted to prove a point yesterday.
The Pioneers certainly had enough trouble scoring them.
Anne Arundel withstood two prolonged dry spells and some erratic play to defeat visiting Frederick Community College, 55-51, and avenge an embarrassing December loss.
The Pioneers had only six available players -- including a member of the women's soccer team who served as an emergency fill-in -- when the Cougars defeated them, 73-54, on Dec. 8.
"The last time we played them, we knew we could beat them," said Beall, who netted half of her game-high 18 points in the final six minutes.
"We just had to go out and prove it."
The Pioneers (13-7 overall and 12-4 in the Maryland JuCo League) also proved they could squander a big lead without losing their composure -- or the game.
Having fallen behind by 12 points, 32-20, early in the second half, the Cougars took advantage of Anne Arundel's poor shootingto claim their first lead, 41-40, with just over eight minutes left.
"We started slacking off a little bit, and they came back," Beallsaid.
Sophomore Bobbie Jo Flagle, Frederick's leading scorer coming in at 15.8 points a game, sank two free throws to extend the lead to 43-40. But Beall sliced to the hoop and scored, and guard Stacey Dent followed a Jen Rickard miss to move Anne Arundel ahead, 44-43.
Pioneers coach Tom Smith smartly employed a brief press with about seven minutes left to force a couple of Frederick turnovers and "try to change the tempo."
"We just wanted to panic them for about 30 seconds and see if we could get some easy baskets," he said.
Beall and teammate Katie Laidley each made a steal and layup to increase thelead to 48-43, and Sarah Krucoff converted a Beall pass underneath to complete a 10-0 run.
Anne Arundel would go up, 55-47, on a Beallthree-pointer, before the Cougars scored the last four points to close the gap.
"We came out real slow in the second half," Laidley said. "I think we just lost some momentum after resting so long during halftime, and we just had to get it back."
Laidley finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds. She missed the first game against Frederick because of a sprained ankle.
"Katie does a lot for us, not only on the offensive end," Smith said. "People don't realize she leads us in rebounding. And she can settle the ball. She plays pretty smart out there. She's a steady influence on the rest of the girls."
Dent and Krucoff added eight points each, Rhonda DeShaw four and Amy Hercha three. DeShaw grabbed 12 rebounds.
Flagle led the Cougars with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Anne Arundel took an early 4-0 lead on baskets from Dent and DeShaw, before going scoreless until a Krucoff layup with nearly six minutes gone. But with Frederick (13-7, 8-5) shooting just 29 percent and committing 15 turnovers, the Pioneers managed to lead, 30-20, at the half.