What a difference a week makes.
Just seven days removed from a second-half meltdown and a loss to Colorado Christian, the No. 5 Fort Lewis College womens basketball team returned to a familiar spot first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings in dominating fashion.
FLC held No. 14 Metro State to just 32 percent shooting and pulled away in the second half for a resounding 73-47 win over the previously unbeaten Roadrunners.
We had the best week of practice weve had all year. ... Were good in this building, too, FLC head coach Mark Kellogg said.
The biggest difference-maker for the Skyhawks?
Metro State (15-1, 11-1 RMAC) entered the game tops in the nation in rebounding margin, outdoing opponents by an average of nearly 14 rebounds per game.
Led by Jenna Santistevans 11 boards and Dana Schreibvogels eight, FLC outrebounded the Roadrunners 36-29, severely limiting their second chance points.
We know we can rebound; we just need to do it every game, Schreibvogel said. We dont need to just know that we have a test and just rebound when we have tests.
Defensively, it was another banner night for the Skyhawks. Metro State didnt make a field goal in the second half until Brandi Valencia connected at the 12:11 mark, and FLC forced a total of 24 turnovers against just nine Roadrunners assists.
Fort Lewis, partly thanks to the interior foul trouble for Metro State, made the Roadrunners a jump-shooting squad, and Metro State couldnt answer, shooting just 23 percent in the second half.
I think thats the case for every game, though Kellogg said of making Metro a jump-shooting team. We got the posts in a little bit of foul trouble, which I think helped. ... We beat that team by 26, and Abby Jackson didnt score a single point.
A 19-5 run turned a still manageable 43-29 Metro State deficit into a 52-32 romp, giving FLC a cushion that never again dipped below 15 points. Erika Richards scored seven of her 10 points during the run to boost the Skyhawks.
The Skyhawks posts were dominant as well. Schreibvogel led all scorers with 22 points, and Mary Rose Paiz chipped in 15 to go with Santistevans eight.
On the flip side, Cassondra Bratton and Tawny Drexler were hounded by foul trouble all night, with each finishing with four fouls.
Bratton pulled in one rebound, far less than her average of eight, and Drexler was held scoreless.
The victory puts the Skyhawks in the drivers seat for a fourth consecutive RMAC regular-season title. They hold the tiebreaker over Metro and host Colorado Christian in their final 10-game stretch. For now, however, its just good to be back on top.
(It feels) a lot better than last week, for sure, Schreibvogel said with a grin.