Skyhawks’ scalding-hot play pours over on Regis

When you’re hot, you’re hot.

And right now, the Skyhawks are burning everyone in their path.

The Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team made Regis its latest victim, rolling the Rangers 84-60 on Saturday at Whalen Gymnasium for win No. 8 in a row.

The victory pulled the Skyhawks (16-8, 15-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) into a tie for second in the league race with UC-Colorado Springs and Metro State after both were upset on the road Saturday night.

FLC met a Regis team whose ball control game was out of sorts almost from the opening whistle. The Rangers (10-14, 9-11 RMAC) turned over the ball a whopping 26 times against just 16 assists Saturday night. FLC heavily contributed to that number, coming up with 13 steals and holding Regis to 39-percent shooting.

“When we did a good job of jumping to the ball and helping on that, we forced them to try and make some skip passes, and you know, that was where we came up with some of their turnovers,” FLC head coach Jason Flores said.

Offensively, Ashley Kuchar was the star of the night, finally finding the range on her jump shot and tying a career-high 24 points, including six 3s. After struggling somewhat with her jumper over the last couple of weeks, the junior guard was 9 of 12 from the floor Saturday and looked every bit the gunner she’s been for three years in an FLC uniform.

“It feels great, obviously, to come out of a slump. It’s been awhile; it’s been like a month,” Kuchar said with a smile. “I didn’t really change much. I had a lot of help from my teammates encouraging me, and I was in the gym all week, so I was hoping that it would come back soon.”

Katerina Garcia enjoyed yet another quality performance on her Senior Night, adding 13 points, seven assists and three steals as she, Kuchar, and fellow senior Alex Easterbrook all had seven assists to help the Skyhawks’ offensive cause.

“It’s fun to share the ball; I think that’s the best part,” Garcia said. “When I give the ball to Ashley, and she hits a 3, you’re going to see a smile straight across my face all the way back down the court. ... It’s all about when other people are scoring, give them the ball. And (Saturday) everybody was scoring, so it was good.”

Christie Groh added 15 points, 13 of them coming in the first half as she helped FLC find its way against the Regis zone after a brief hiccup early.

Erika Richards also scored in double figures with 11 points.

FLC busted the game open thanks to an 11-3 first-half run and red-hot second-half shooting. After intermission, the Skyhawks led by as many as 31.

That big margin allowed Flores to empty his bench and get Easterbrook and Garcia one last standing ovation at Whalen Gym. There’s a good chance FLC will get to play at home once more in the first round of the RMAC Shootout, but nevertheless, Saturday was special for Garcia, who’s a Durango High School alumna and transferred back to FLC from Southern Illinois-Carbondale after her freshman season.

“Hopefully we get another home game. We’d better get another home game,” Garcia said. “But it feels good. It’s sad. It’s bittersweet. But the best decision of my life was moving back here. And it’s good to finish playing in front of a group of people that I love.”

rowens@durangoherald.com