After dropping a pair of games on the road last weekend, the Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team was in search of the consistency and passion that led the Skyhawks to a 15-1 start to the season.
The No. 23 Skyhawks found the passion needed in the second half against Regis University, but inconsistency in the first half dug a hole the Skyhawks couldn’t quite dig out from, as they fell to the Rangers 74-70 in overtime Friday night in Denver.
“Last weekend, I couldn’t have said I was proud of our effort, but tonight I can say that,” FLC head coach Jason Flores said. “I’m proud that we figured it out and put ourselves in a position to win, we just didn’t close it out.”
Down 40-37 at the start of the fourth quarter, FLC (15-4, 9-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) took control and built a five-point lead with a couple of minutes remaining. But Regis’ Whitney Jacob doubled her number of 3-pointers made this season with back-to-back triples that tied the game with seven seconds remaining.
The game looked to be headed to overtime, but, when FLC inbounded the ball, the Rangers (8-8, 7-4 RMAC) fouled Shelby Patterson immediately. The FLC senior hit both free throws to make it 61-59 FLC.
After the free throws, Regis called a timeout to advance the ball across half court for another chance to tie the game or take the lead. Following the inbound, Regis’ Mary Sigler drew a quick foul and converted both free throws to tie the game at 61.
FLC then called a timeout with five seconds to play. But the Skyhawks couldn’t execute a play and had to settle for a long 3 from Kayla Herrera that was off the mark, and the game went to overtime.
In overtime, Regis built a 71-65 lead with less than two minutes remaining only to have the Skyhawks come back to cut the deficit to 72-70 with 16 second to go. But, again, Sigler drew a foul and converted at the line to ice the game.
“We put ourselves in a position to win the game,” Flores said. “Give them credit. They hit three 3s and one of them banks in in the final minute of (regulation). ... But they hit them, and that’s basketball sometimes. It’s tough because we put ourselves in a position to win and got unlucky.”
Regis got its lead to as much as 23-13 in the first half before the Skyhawks closed the half on a 6-0 run and sent the game to halftime with the Rangers ahead 23-19.
FLC was 6-of-31 from the field for a shooting percentage of 19.4 percent in the first half.
“We were hunting shots,” Flores said of the offensive struggles. “I know we were hunting shots because we had three assists and seven turnovers, and that shows we weren’t playing in good rhythm.”
FLC took its first lead of the game with 6:55 remaining in the third quarter when Shelby Patterson scored in the paint, drew a foul and converted the free throw that gave the Skyhawks a 26-23 lead.
The Skyhawks’ run, going back to the first half, reached 15-0 before Regis scored with 5:21 to go in the third.
But the Rangers came back with a 14-3 run during the next few minutes to take a 37-31 lead with a couple minutes remaining in the quarter and led 40-37 heading to the fourth.
FLC was without starting guard Briana Clah, who injured an ankle last week. Flores said the injury will keep the senior sidelined for a couple of weeks.
Vivian Gray led the Skyhawks with 27 points and nine rebounds. Astrea Reed had 19 points and seven rebounds, and Patterson finished with 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.
The Skyhawks finished the night with a field goal percentage of 34.3 and made 22-of-33 free throws.
Jacob led Regis with 22 points – a new career high for the freshman – and 12 boards. Sigler finished with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. Majestie Robinson added 11 points and four assists before she fouled out in the fourth quarter.
FLC will play at Chadron State (3-15, 1-11 RMAC) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Chadron, Nebraska.
“We have to refuse to lose, and refusing to lose starts (Saturday),” Flores said. “We have to have toughness. We have to draw a line in the sand, and there’s no more. We have to close it out.”