The No. 4 Fort Lewis College women's basketball team had not gotten off to great starts in the last couple games, and
Tuesday's Rocky Mountain Athletic Confernce game at Adams State wasn't the most inspiring.
However, Fort Lewis righted the ship much quicker this time around, buoyed by an inspired, albeit brief, first-half
effort from the second unit and a strong finish to edge the Grizzlies 64-59 in Alamosa.
In that first half, the starters weren't ready, and they didn't know what defense to start the game in, which was
disappointing," Skyhawks head coach Mark Kellogg said.
We put the second group in, and I think they were behind when they came in, and we got the lead right after they
came out a few minutes later."
The first unit responded when they came back in, with starters Abby Jackson and Allison Rosel lead- ing the Sky-
hawks with 19 and 16 points, respectively.
After failing to score against Mesa State, Jackson's scoring burst was a welcome sight for Kellogg and the Skyhawks.
She was a really good spark plug," Kellogg said. She got us going again and got us the lead again late. She was
making shots and really getting after it."
Fort Lewis finished the game strong, taking a 60-59 lead on Rosel's two free throws with 57 seconds left.
Four Jackson free throws sandwiched around a key Mary Rose Paiz block with 15 seconds left put away the pesky
Grizzlies (19-6, 13-5 in the RMAC).
We made a lot of clutch free throws down the stretch," Kellogg said.
While the Skyhawks were outshot percentage-wise against Adams State, they were able to make up for it by forcing 26
turnovers, scoring 33 points off those turnovers.
We were able to eliminate their possessions," Kellogg said. They shot better than we did, but they only made four
more baskets, and we had 12 more free throws than they did."
Kellogg credited the Grizzlies for the Skyhawks' mediocre shooting night, especially their post defense.
They were really physical in there. They beat the crap out of us in the post," he said. That was the best defensive
effort we've seen all year."
While they did force a bevy of turnovers, Kellogg wasn't 100 percent satisfied with his own defense. The coach said
the Skyhawks continued to give up too many easy baskets, especially in the paint, something that needs to be
rectified before the postseason begins.
We only gave up 59 points, but of that 59, there were too many easy baskets in there," he said.
Fort Lewis, 27-2 and 17-1 in the RMAC, returns home Saturday to wrap up the regular season and celebrate senior night
against Western New Mexico.
Kellogg said that the Skyhawks will enjoy getting back to playing normal weekend games.
We maybe got a little bit tired," he said.
Tuesday games are just different. There's not a lot of preparation time and not a lot of rest time."