With one cog in the offensive armor missing Saturday’s home debut, Dametria Dawson knew her load would be heavier.
She carried it well, scoring 37 points on 17-of-24 shooting and the Oklahoma Warriors cruised to a 78-59 win Saturday night against the Kansas City Stampede in front of a paid crowd of 283 at the Civic Center.
With Shay Holmes — who had 54 points in two wins last week in San Antonio against the San Antonio Troopers and Dallas Assist — awaiting an MRI on an injured knee, Dawson stepped up, in front of familiar surroundings if not the first home game for the first-year team in the Women’s Minor League Basketball Association, now 3-1 heading into today’s home game at noon against the Killeen Force.
“I knew I had to stay calm and do what I needed to do to help my team win,” the former Bacone College standout said. “It was exciting.
“I’m used to playing in Muskogee so I was pretty calm.”
She drew praise from Warriors head coach Gena Maxwell.
“She had a lot of pressure on her and came through amazing for us,” Maxwell said.
Dawson did have help.
The Stampede, 0-2 and playing as an independent minor league team this season, had 10 first-quarter turnovers. Cierra Miles came up with four of those and had six overall. The Warriors led 12-3 at one point and 22-11 at the end of one.
Oklahoma struggled in the second half, missing excessive shots inside the paint and had just two field goals through the first seven minutes and led by 10, 27-17. Dawson had eight of the final 10 points of the half for the Warriors on four field goals, two of those off nice assists from ex-Muskogee Rougher Bethany Hall, who would leave the game in the second half with assistance after injuring a knee. Her status for today’s game is not known.
Miles’ help wasn’t just defensive.
She had four third quarter field goals in as many attempts as the Warriors’ lead reached 62-39 against a Stampede team that was depth-challenged. They played an earlier game here Saturday against the Killeen Force with just five players. A sixth showed up in time for the finale.
Miles, another Bacone product, finished with 12 points, just behind Jordan Evans with 13. Miles was a pickup last week before the two games in San Antonio.
“She sees the court differently than everybody else. She can make that quick decision and quick pass,” Maxwell said. “I look forward to more of that out of her.”
The lead reached 71-43 on Dawson’s only attempt of the fourth quarter before a Stampede rally got it closer.
“Defense helps win games, offense helps win games, but I was really happy with our defense. It set the tone early,” Maxwell said.
The Warriors take on Killeen, an 86-52 winner over Kansas City, at noon today in another non-league tilt. Imari Simpson scored 28 points to lead Killeen in the earlier win. Bianca Noel had 24.
Maxwell was pumped by the crowd, which greatly exceeded what the Warriors played in front at Topeka, Kan., two weeks ago and in the Alamo City last weekend.
“I appreciate all the support we got,” Dawson said. “It gave us more confidence in what we’re doing here.”
They’ll play two more home games Saturday against the defending WMLBA champion Dallas Lightning and next Sunday against the Topeka Storm.