The No. 10 Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team damaged its hopes of hosting the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament with its second consecutive loss Friday night, this one 78-71 to a mediocre Colorado Mines team.
Mines, who was fighting for its postseason life on the edge of making the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout with a 10-15 overall and 9-10 RMAC record, was relentless from beyond the arc, hit 48 percent of its 3-point shots for 30 points from beyond the arc, many of them as the shot clock expired.
“We didn’t play very well. Mines played really well,” FLC head coach Mark Kellogg said. “ (Mines) shot it great; we didn’t defend.”
Angie Charchalis and Courtney Gallo were the main culprits, knocking down four 3-pointers apiece. Gallo hit four 3s.
Charchalis had a game-high 28 points, and Gallo added 12 just behind Stephanie Fogle, who scored 13.
Kellogg said his women simply did not contain the ball or challenge shooters. The defense is “just fundamentally broken more than anything else,” he said.
And the Skyhawks, on the other hand, couldn’t buy a basket for much of the second half.
Tied at 33 all at intermission, the Orediggers went on an 11-0 run to take the biggest lead of the game. The Skyhawks pulled back within four at 44-40 mostly off of free throws, but Mines went on another small run to reopen the lead to 12.
With about eight minutes to go in the second half, the Skyhawks had hit just two of 18 shots from the field in the frame.
“We shot it terrible and still scored 71 points, but you still have got to find a way to win,” Kellogg said.
Katerina Garcia led a late comeback for Fort Lewis, though, scoring a team-high 20 points, most of them in the final minutes of play.
Down 65-52 with four minutes to go, the Skyhawks started to chip away at the Orediggers’ lead.
Garcia hit a pair of 3s to bring it within five, but Charchalis hit two free throws with 9 seconds to go to close the door.
On the night, the Orediggers hit 74 percent of their foul shots; the Skyhawks hit 79 percent from the line.