Ball movement and intense focus on defense sparked a 9-0 run in the opening five minutes of the second quarter. Fort Lewis College used that recipe the rest of the game to roll Regis.
The FLC women’s basketball team stretched a 15-11 first-quarter advantage to 32-18 by halftime. The Skyhawks took smart shots and smothered the Rangers with defensive pressure. It all led to a big 63-46 victory in FLC’s first game of a four-game homestand.
“It was a great team win for us,” FLC head coach Orlando Griego said. “We rebounded the ball really well, and I thought we played pretty good perimeter defense for 37 minutes. Overall, it was a really big team win.”
FLC (12-5, 8-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) was led by 11 points and six rebounds from Jordan Carter. Kaitlyn Romero added 10 points, and Chloe Warrington scored nine off the bench and grabbed eight big rebounds.
“Coach said they like to average at least 40 rebounds a game. In order for me to get in the game and play, he tells me I have to rebound,” Warrington said. “It finally clicked a switch a little bit.”
Regis (7-11, 5-7 RMAC) made only 3-of-23 from 3-point range in the first half, with numerous air-balls. The Rangers would finish the game 11-of-39 from 3 and shot 25.4% overall from the field. The Rangers were led by Whitney Jacob’s 11 points and 10 rebounds. Grace O’Neill had five points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
FLC knew rebounding would be key in the game. The Skyhawks capitalized on Regis’ poor shooting and maintained aggression to grab 32 rebounds in the first half alone and won the rebound battle 51-46 for the game.
“One thing that stuck out to me that first half was Jordan Carter was really boxing out, and other girls were going to grab rebounds,” Griego said.
“That doesn’t show up in a stat line, but that shows up when you watch film and break that down because she’s out there boxing out and these other girls are rebounding the ball,” he said.
The Skyhawks did start a bit slow in the third quarter, and Regis came out on an 8-0 run to get within 32-26. Griego called a timeout with 7:02 to go in the third quarter to urge his team to be stronger with the ball and play with fire, energy and effort.
It was the tough rebounding of Kayla Herrera-Flores that helped spark a pair of FLC baskets before Bailey Osmer grabbed a steal and ran the floor and was fouled hard going up for a layup by Emma Sterkel of Regis. The referees used the media timeout to review the foul but found nothing worthy of an intentional foul. Osmer stepped to the foul line and made two free throws to push the FLC lead back to 12 at 38-26.
Herrera-Flores finished with four points and a team-high nine rebounds. Osmer had eight points, six rebounds and two steals as part of 18 Regis turnovers.
“They do a really good job of responding when we call timeout, and we really challenged them during one of those timeouts,” Griego said. “Credit to the girls; they know they’re not playing to the best of their ability. We get a quick timeout, readjust and go on a run. It speaks volumes about their maturity.”
FLC kept the third-quarter run going to 14-0 to make it a 46-26 lead with two minutes to go in the quarter. Romero and Katrina Chandler each made 3s to close out the run.
“Coach has all the confidence in the world with us,” Romero said. “Our posts and guards that are driving have been doing a really good job the last few games. That really frees us up on the outside. I was just ready to knock down the shot.”
With a 48-31 lead going into the final 10 minutes, the FLC victory was never in doubt. Griego also was able to rest some players to stay fresh for a 5:30 p.m. Saturday game at home against Colorado Christian (6-12, 6-6 RMAC). The Cougars strolled past Adams State 77-51 Friday night in Alamosa.
“We’re in the gauntlet,” Griego said. “We’re gonna be playing against some really good teams. But, at the same time, we gotta go one game at a time, and our focus will be on Colorado Christian.
“It’s really nice to have home games right now after four games on the road. We will take care of them to the best of our ability here and, hopefully, we can win ’em all.”