Clang. Doink. Boing.
Such noises became an all too common sound to New Mexico Highlands on Friday at Whalen Gymnasium.
The Cowgirls shot 23 percent from the field, eight percent from 3 and 40 percent from the free throw line, numbers made all the more difficult to overcome when the No. 3 Fort Lewis College womens basketball team forced 27 turnovers in a 66-33 victory.
Another typically superlative defensive effort from FLC (13-0, 8-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) helped the Skyhawks overcome their own 25 turnovers, with the 13 possession changes causing an uncharacteristically disjointed first-half offensive effort.
We really understood that they were going to attack and all that, forward Dana Schreibvogel said. We came in more focused defensively.
Turnovers have been about the only bugaboo in a record-setting start for the Skyhawks, and head coach Mark Kellogg jokingly suggested a way to cut down on the issue.
I dont know if its legal or not, but Im going to start charging for turnovers, Kellogg said with a grin.
A 15-2 run to end the half, however, helped FLC turn a 20-14 lead into a 35-16 halftime gap.
Schreibvogel scored 11 of her game-high 15 points in the half, and guard Erika Richards continued her hot shooting since she ditched the facemask she wore to protect an early season broken nose, tallying eight of her 13 in the frame, and she hit three of FLCs nine 3s.
After the late first-half surge, the Skyhawks carried that momentum right into the second half. Schreibvogel opened the second 20 with a layup, and an Abby Jackson steal led to a Mary Rose Paiz layup just eight seconds later.
In the second half, we knew if we attacked and if we dont have anything, pull it back out ... and not take a crazy, wild shot, Schreibvogel said.
A bucket by Jenna Santistevan, who finished with 10 rebounds, a Jackson free throw and an Ashley Kuchar 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run to open the half and essentially put the game out of reach at 45-16.
FLC did suffer a blow when Paiz left with a right ankle injury after being fouled with 13:12 remaining. Kellogg said Paiz will be a game-time decision tonight with a mild ankle sprain.
China Smith led Highlands (5-10, 2-7 RMAC) with 10 points, the only Cowgirl in double figures.
Highlands leading scorer entering the game, Whitley Coca, scored just seven points on 3 of 12 shooting, appearing to tire as the game progressed.
They dont shoot it that bad normally ... but yeah, thats what we think. ... When your legs get tired, you get off your game, Kellogg said.
Jackson and Paiz each scored seven for FLC, and Kuchar dished out seven assists. Every Skyhawk in uniform scored.