OKEMOS – The chants of “Autumn, Autumn, Autumn” could be heard coming out of the Mason girls basketball locker room following Tuesday’s game.
They were well deserved for Autumn Kissman following her big performance on the court.
The 6-foot-3 junior center delivered one of the best performances of her school career Tuesday, scoring a career-high 31 points in the Bulldogs’ 56-39 victory over Okemos.
Kissman was 12 of 20 from the field and added 10 rebounds and four blocks for Mason (2-1) with Oakland University coach Jeff Tungate in the stands watching her play.
“There was a pretty good matchup with me and the post on Okemos team and my team just looked for me and made really good passes to me and I was able to finish,” said Kissman, who is averaging 24 points and has double-doubles in each of the Bulldogs’ three games this season.
The post is an area of strength for Mason and coach Jen Walkington has noticed growth in Kissman’s game in the season’s early stages.
“This year she’s gotten stronger, she’s gotten more agile with her feet,” Walkington said. “She provides something that not a lot of teams have and that’s an inside game so we’re able to pound it inside to her.”
Okemos, which was led by freshman Laya Hartman’s 19 points, couldn’t find a way to slow Kissman in the paint once the ball was worked inside to her.
“Kissman she’s a very good player in there,” Okemos coach Tyler Hursey said. “She had a big night. We were trying to do some things to prevent her from getting the ball, but once she got it in there she kind of had her way. That was tough.”
Kissman wasn’t the only Mason post player to hurt Okemos (1-4). Caitlin Nisswonger provided the Bulldogs with some big minutes off the bench and was a key contributor during a stretch late in the third quarter when Mason pulled away. That included a making a shot from just inside the free throw line in the final seconds of the third quarter that then gave the Bulldogs a 12-point advantage.
Nisswonger finished with eight points in what Walkington said was one of her best games.
“If she can come in and give Autumn a break and be able to perform and rebound and put some shots in like we ask her too, that’s huge for us,” Walkington said.
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.