LAFAYETTE -- Missing several key players and using a nine-player lineup, the Alexander Dawson girls basketball team knew it had to hustle to win its season opener.

Hosting Bruce Randolph on Thursday night, the Mustangs earned a 49-21 victory in the fashion they had a pretty good idea they might.

"We've been practicing for two weeks and a lot of our players have gotten injures so it was great to see everyone push really hard," junior guard Rachel Clair said. "You gotta get every 50-50 ball and every time you get the ball, you gotta push it down the court and get there first."

Involving herself in nearly every play, the 5-foot-3 Clair finished with six points, six assists and three rebounds. Sophomore Fiona Bell led the Mustangs with 14 points and fellow sophomore Nicole Towner scored 13 points, most of which came off offensive rebounds in the second half.

Mustangs junior center Lisa Pelikan grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots, and sophomore guard Morgan Powers scored most of her 10 points following steals in transition.

For the Mustangs, who lost the final seven games of last season, Towner said winning the first game was important.

"Last year we didn't have a lot of depth but this year I already feel the improvement and I can see it," Towner said. "Winning the first one helps because we know we're just gonna get better and keep going."

Things will get tougher for the Mustangs. Bruce Randolph did not win a game (0-16) last season.

Dawson head coach Jessica Mitchell said she could tell her Mustangs have improved because practices have been going more smoothly early on. Those things, she said, translated into a win on Thursday.

"It was important for us to box out, they had some height," Mitchell said. "We wanted to play fast and I was pleased with our offensive transition. I think we missed some people, occasionally, but I was proud of them for executing."

The Mustangs' next game will be at home against Liberty Common on Tuesday.

Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradCochi

Alexander Dawson 49, Bruce Randolph 21

At Alexander Dawson HS

BRUCE RANDOLPH (0-1)

Casillas 5 4-12 15, Medina 1 0-2 2, Hudgins 0 0-0 0, Carillo 0 0-0 0, Ubaldo 0 1-2 1, Pasillas 0 0-0 0, Valles-Aguilera 0 1-2, 1, Martain-Cox 0 0-0 0, Chairez 0 0-3 0. Totals 6 6-21 21

ALEXANDER DAWSON (1-0)

Powers 5 0-0 10, Towner 6 1-2 13, Clair 3 0-0 6, Jimenez 0 1-2 1, Brubaker 0 0-0 0, Bell 6 1-2 14, Pelikan 2 1-2 5. Totals 22 4-9 49.

Score by quarters:

Bruce Randolph 0 7 5 9 -- 21

Alexander Dawson 9 13 16 11 -- 49

3-point field goals -- Bruce Randolph (1): Casillas; Alexander Dawson (1): Bell. Total fouls -- Bruce Randolph 11, Alexander Dawson 19. Fouled out -- Clair. Technical fouls -- None.