Lady Cards dominate in opener

HARLINGEN — With a new season comes a new opportunity to make a statement. And the Lady Cardinals basketball team did just that in their 2017 season opener Saturday.

Harlingen’s newfound intensity guided the Lady Cardinals to overwhelming 96-33 victory over Laredo Cigarroa.

“You can see it in our score that our intensity is a lot different than last year,” said Harlingen head coach Ashley Moncivaiz. “From our chemistry to our rollouts, we just know where each other are at and we don’t waste time on what we do. Before, there was a little bit more of a hesitation.”

However, there was no hesitation Saturday afternoon as the Lady Cardinals had a great offensive showing with six players scoring in double digits. Ariel Leal led the team with a game-high 15 points (3 of 6 from the line) and Julie Garza followed it up with 14 points. Samantha Grace and Taegan Dickey each contributed 12 points while teammates Aileen Valdez and Nadia Flores helped out with 10 a piece.

Two other players just missing out on having a double-digit contest were Andrea Cortez and Alyssa Cervantes, who each added nine points to the cause.

The Lady Cardinals outscored the Lady Toros 37-7 in the first period, 62-16 in the second and 83-24 in the third.

Harlingen’s new look still featured plenty of returning talent including last season’s VMS MVP Nadia Flores, who Coach Moncivaiz insists “got even better over the summer.”

“Her game has grown to where she is able to go inside, rebound and distribute the ball,” she said. “Before, she put a lot of pressure on herself to score. This time she has her teammates that have her back so she can distribute to others.”

For the Lady Toros, Lori De Leon had a team-high 11 points and teammate Angelina Mosqueda added eight points.

Next up for Harlingen is a road game at McAllen Memorial on Tuesday.