Through two games this season, the Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team has shown the Skyhawks are deserving of its No. 22 national ranking.
The Skyhawks cruised to their second win of the young season with a 71-54 victory against Eastern New Mexico University Saturday night at Whalen Gymnasium to finish the Conference Challenge 2-0.
“The team is starting to round into form, and we still don’t have Alyssa (Yocky) back,” FLC head coach Jason Flores said. “What I told them in the locker room just now was that our ceiling is really high, and we’re not close to our ceiling yet.”
Standout freshman Vivian Gray led all scorers with 30 points and hit 14-of-15 free throws.
“Scoring-wise, my teammates know when to get me the ball and where to get me the ball, and it’s really nice being able to trust each other,” Gray said. “We trust each other to pass the ball and make the right passes, and we work really well together and that’s really important.”
Free throws played a big factor in the 17-point margin of victory for FLC. The Skyhawks (2-0) got to the line 37 times and connected on 30 of the attempts while the Greyhounds (0-2) were 13-of-19.
The Skyhwaks’ defense held the Greyhounds to just 18.8 percent shooting in the first quarter, but couldn’t take advantage after committing seven turnovers. FLC held a 13-11 lead at the end of the quarter despite not getting to the free-throw line once in the quarter.
The Greyhounds started hitting shots in the second quarter, but the Skyhawks still built on their lead to 30-24 at halftime after cutting down on turnovers.
After turning over the ball seven times in the opening 10 minutes, FLC committed just seven turnovers the rest of the game.
FLC point guard Astrea Reed said the difference it the turnovers in the first quarter compared to the rest of the game was the Skyhawks settling down and finding comfort on the court.
“I think we just had to get those early jitters out,” Reed said. “The rest of the game, we had seven turnovers. We were able to chill and relax.”
FLC built its lead to 20 points at the end of the third quarter after connecting on 43 percent of its shots from the field and took a 54-34 advantage into the fourth.
The Greyhounds made a push in the fourth quarter and got the deficit to 11 points at 59-48, but the Skyhawks outscored them 12-6 the rest of the way to secure the win.
Reed finished the night with 17 points and Kelsey Wainright added 9.
Gray grabbed nine rebounds to go with her 30-point performance. Kayla Herrera match Gray with nine boards and added four assists and four steals.
Shelby Jones led the Greyhounds with 9 points.
FLC will get a few days off before hosting Northern New Mexico College (2-2) for a doubleheader with the men’s team on Thursday at Whalen Gym. The women’s game is scheduled to tip off at 5:30 p.m. and the men’s game will follow.
Prior to the FLC game at Whalen, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology faced off against the University of Texas-Permian Basin.
The Hardrockers picked up a 78-72 win to move to 2-0 on the season.
Cooper Courtney led the Hardrocks to victory with a 36-point outing.
The loss dropped UTPB to 0-2 on the season.