TORRINGTON – The Eastern Wyoming College Lady Lancers picked up a 73-68 win against conference foe Northeastern Junior College on Friday after a one-month break.
Freshman Rosa Revueltas got EWC on the board to start the game before NJC scored five straight to take the lead.
The two teams traded baskets, and the Plainswomen appeared to have opened up the 3-point game with two buckets from beyond the arc. The Lady Lancers, however, tightened up the backcourt with aggressive defense to limit NJC’s perimeter scoring.
Head coach Alicia Hawkins said aggressive play from the guards is something she emphasizes to her players.
“That’s what we teach here is being aggressive,” Hawkins said. “We created 18 turnovers for them. They’re not all steals and those things, but that helps open things up with when they turn the ball over, we get easy shots.”
After going down by five midway through the opening quarter, EWC turned things around quickly with an eight-point run in about two minutes to take a 16-13 lead.
Four of the points during the run came from sophomore Mara Neira. Hawkins said Neira was an important addition to team coming off an injury.
“Once we move that ball and get a reverse, she’s open for three so that created things where if we move that ball side to side our offensive play is setting screens and attacking the baseline and we got some good looks,” Hawkins said.
EWC’s defense kept a two-point lead intact and set up a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Revueltas to move the lead to 24-19.
It took about two and a half minutes for either team to score in the second quarter as EWC’s ball movement around the perimeter lead to a catch-and-shoot three for Neira. The sophomore ended the night with 23 points off the bench including 4-9 from the 3-point line.
The Lady Lancers continued to apply pressure with a transition layup from sophomore Janette Hanni and another one from Revueltas to go up 33-24 with 5:38 to go in the half.
NJC tried to chip away at the deficit even getting to within three before freshman Angela Lucio buried a corner three to go back up six.
After a media timeout, EWC continued to have their way on offense with a quick layup from Hanni off the inbound and a Fastbreak score from freshman Anna Soler off the steal by Revueltas.
NJC could only get the deficit down to six going into the second half.
The Plainswomen looked to have found a new offensive tactic in the third quarter by trying to force the ball in the pain and take advantage under the basket. The change included feeding the ball to sophomore Liana Gkompetzisvili who put in two straight layups early in the quarter to keep the score within single digits.
Hawkins acknowledged controlling the paint has been an issue for her admittedly undersized team.
“[Gkompetzisvili] was tough in there, but then once she does get it our guards got to come in and help take away a dribble jump shot,” Hawkins said. “Those things we but got to get better at.”
Gkompetzisvili was limited to four more points in the quarter as two of which came from the free-throw line.
The lead didn’t change much for EWC as Hanni put up six more points in the quarter to keep the six-point advantage at 56-50.
The fourth quarter appeared to be all EWC as the Lady Lancers scored six straight points and then another five with 5:22 to go in the game as the lead swelled to 15.
With 2:27 to go, NJC called a timeout while trailing 72-58. A combination of EWC’s drought on the offensive side and the Plainswomen’s aggressive offense led to 10 points in a row for the away team to go within four points with 17.7 seconds remaining.
“They came aggressive, and we didn’t transition in defense well enough. We needed to get back in stop the ball,” Hawkins said.” “I mean you’re in college athletics and teams are good so you can’t ever let up, and I think we kind of relaxed a little too much there at the end.”
EWC found a way to close out the game thanks to a foul directly off the inbound to send Lucio to the free-throw line.
Despite a 1-2 effort from the line by Lucio, the five-point lead was enough to secure EWC’s sixth straight win.
Hanni finished second on the team in scoring with 14 while Revueltas put up 12.
Sophomore Anna Gascon led the team with 12 rebounds and finished two points shy of the double-double.
Soler and Neira added five rebounds, and Revueltas collected four.
The Lady Lancers (8-6) host Trinidad State College (3-8) at 2 p.m. Saturday.