The sport of football has exciting phrases when a defensive play leads to a score. A Pick Six or a Scoop-and-Score on the gridiron usually shift momentum and can change games dramatically.
Defensive plays that turn into offensive buckets on the basketball floor aren’t quite as dramatic but are no less important.
Smackover thrives on them. No hooper has more Pick Sixes or Scoops-and-Scores than Adriana Grant. That’s her game, to be the Deion Sanders of the Lady Bucks.
“Honestly, she’s my defensive stopper. Her biggest offense is her defense,” said Smackover coach Makara Frazier. “She’s really my go-to when I need somebody to bring me some energy, I go to her and I tell her, ‘Hey, I need you to step it up and make an impact.’ She does just that.”
Frazier said Grant is averaging around 15 points per game during league play. Most of those points have been initiated by her defense. The 5-foot-8 forward roams the passing lanes like a rangy cornerback.
“I feel like my role on the team is being the best defensive player I can be,” said Grant. “I believe that it is important for me to remember to stay low, keep my steps short, and do not start off by being too close or too far away from my opponent. That to me is the key to making me a better defensive player.”
Grant has worked on her shooting to become a more complete offensive threat. She admitted though, defense was more of her thing.
“I can most definitely say that my mindset on defense is way more different than when I am playing offense,” she said. “When I first started playing basketball, all I've ever heard was that defense wins games. And I believe in that 100 percent, because when I am trying my hardest on defense, I find myself getting more and more steals each time. My defense is the reason that I score as much as I do.”
With her height and athletic ability, Grant can be a versatile defender as well and guard multiple positions.
“I would say she can guard one through four,” said Frazier. “Especially in our conference, we have some bigger post players. I wouldn’t put her down there on a post because I don’t want her to get into foul trouble. But she can guard one through four.
“Defensively, she’s best off the ball. She’s good at getting into passing lanes, jumping the pass and really making easy passes really difficult for other teams.”
Since coming out of lockdown, the Lady Bucks have surged into the postseason. They will host a district tournament game on Wednesday.
Frazier said Grant has definitely been a huge factor in the team’s success.
“As a senior she’s really stepped up to play her game. She’s not trying to do too much or trying to do more than what she’s capable of. She’s staying true to her and that’s helping us a lot,” said Frazier, who was asked if Grant was the team’s go-to player in clutch situations.
“Honestly, in close games we’re one of those teams that our big shot is going to be a lay-up off a defensive stop.
“She’s a defensive stopper so a lot of times if we need a push to get some separation or to get us back to within two or three or get us ahead by one, Adriana Grant gets a stop, and she scores a lay-up. And then she knocks down free throws pretty consistently for us, right now, also.”
The Lady Bucks have played with a sense of urgency since returning to the court. They will have to turn it up even more in the postseason as one bad quarter could prove fatal.
“My main team goal for the rest of the season is to survive and win,” said Grant.
“I know without a doubt that we all have what it takes to make it to the end. We have to work harder and harder and compete to win in practice. We can't afford to have excuses because we have come too far together to stop now.”