As much as they try not to think about it, Amanda Merz admitted that the current crop of Buccaneers can’t help but think about the fact that they’re entering the current season on a 51-game winning streak, dating back to December of 2011.
Merz and the Buccaneers put to rest any worries about that streak coming to an end in Thursday’s season-opener as the host Bucs raced out to an early 21-5 lead and never looked back, beating Traverse City West, 43-31.
“It’s in the back of our minds,” Merz said with a grin after she scored 10 points, including eight in the first quarter. “But we try not to think about losing, about the streak. We’re just trying to focus on this year.
“It was really important for us to get off to a fast start, especially to give a lot of the younger girls confidence,” said Merz, a junior who started all 28 games at point guard for the Bucs last winter. “After we got off to a good start, it was like, ‘OK, we’re good.’”
Merz keyed the Bucs’ fast start as she popped up off a screen and swished a 3-pointer, then was fouled on a drive and hit both free throws.
Later in the quarter, her steal and ensuing three-point play put the Bucs on top 10-2.
“It was nice to have my shot falling, because that’s something I struggled with last year,” Merz said.
Backcourt mate Mallory Beswick knocked down a 3-pointer later in the first quarter for a 14-4 lead, then Merz drove and dished off to Michala Ringquist for a layup and a 16-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Taylor Craymer then showed off her smooth shooting stroke as she swished a 3-pointer early in the second quarter for a 21-5 advantage.
That lead grew to 25-5 on a bucket by Amy Kober.
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