February 26, 2010
RedStorm suffer tough loss at Pikeville College
Pikeville, Ky. --- The University of Rio Grande RedStorm women's basketball team was looking to end the season with a flurry of wins to gain some momentum for the upcoming Mid-South Conference Tournament and to secure a winning season. Those plans hit a snag on Thursday night at the East Kentucky Expo Center as Rio Grande lost 70-67 to Pikeville College.
Rio Grande (15-14, 6-7 MSC) was forced to dig out a huge first half hole as Pikeville College (16-13, 4-9 MSC) put together a tremendous first half in building a 15-point lead on two different occasions at 24-9 and 37-22. The Lady Bears shot 53.3 percent (16-of-30) from the field in the first half of play.
Rio Grande started the game well in taking a 6-2 lead, only to see the Lady Bears go on a 10-0 run to take a 16-6 advantage with 14 minutes to play in the first half. The RedStorm then hit a cold spell and scored only three points over the next four minutes of the game. Rio made only 10-of-34 (29.4 percent) shots in the opening half and went 1-for-15 (6.7 percent) from three-point land.
Rio cut the deficit to 11 points at the half (37-26).
Fortunes changed for Rio Grande in the second half as the RedStorm heated up from the field hitting exactly half of their attempts (16-of-32) after halftime. Rio opened the second stanza on a 10-4 run to cut the deficit to 41-34 with 16:28 to play.
Pikeville managed to keep the RedStorm at a five to seven point deficit for the better part of the second half. Rio junior guard Jenna Smith (Bellefontaine, OH) hit a three-pointer with 7:55 remaining to get Rio to within four points at 54-50. Smith would lead Rio Grande in scoring with 24 points.
The RedStorm kept the pressure on as junior forward Leah Kendro (Strongsville, OH) scored two of her 12 points with 2:14 left to make the score 66-65 Pikeville. Kendro's lay-up culminated a 7-0 run by Rio Grande.
Trailing 70-67, Rio Grande had two chances to tie the game in the final seconds as Smith had two three-point attempts blocked by Lauren Potts. The second block, which occurred at the buzzer, came with some controversy as the Rio Grande bench pleaded for a foul call that never came.
In addition to Smith and Kendro, Rio Grande had two other players score in double figures. Junior guard Bre Davis (Marietta, OH) scored 12 points and dished out six assists and freshman forward Kati Moore (Lancaster, OH) chipped in 11 points off the bench.
Potts paced the Pikeville attack with 17 points while Alexis Johnson added 15 to go along with eight rebounds. Sally Roberts and Natiera Hinton tossed in 10 points each.
"You live and die by the three and we died a lot in the first half. We were 1-of-15 from the three," said Rio Grande head coach David Smalley. "We just didn't make the adjustments and do the things that we needed to do to get our scoring going."
"The second half we turned that around, we told them at halftime, ‘if you're a three-point shooter keep shooting if you're not, please take it to the glass, make an extra pass, do the smart thing' and we did that in the second half," Smalley added. "The problem this evening was our shooting in the first half, inability to rebound, they out-rebounded us horribly and our bench play, they out-scored us 25-11 from the bench."
"I thought we just didn't come focused and ready to play."
Rio and Pikeville split the season series as each team came away with a home court victory.
The RedStorm has a chance to change their current downward cycle with the regular season finale at home on Saturday versus Georgetown College. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. Stretch Internet will have play-by-play coverage beginning at 1:50 p.m.
Rio lost at Georgetown in the earlier match-up this season, 73-58 on February 4.