Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
There’s nothing quite like coming home after a long trip.
Just ask the Skyhawks.
The Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team looked like its old self Saturday, using pressure defense and balanced scoring to roll past Adams State 69-55 in its home opener at Whalen Gym to end a five-game losing streak. The friendly confines of Durango seemed to bring the energy back to the Skyhawks (2-5, 1-2 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference), who forced 11 of Adams’ 18 turnovers in the first half and came out firing, hitting 48 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3 in the first half to build a 41-25 lead.
“We knew that we had to be better defensively and at rebounding, and it was drilled into our heads all week,” guard Alex Easterbrook said.
The Skyhawks found some offensive balance they’d been lacking earlier this season, as well, particularly in the post. Christie Groh had 11 points, while Kaile Magazzeni provided a much-needed boost off the bench with 10 points and seven rebounds. The guards weren’t shabby, either, with Easterbrook scoring a career-high 17 points, while Ashley Kuchar chipped in 11 and Erika Richards 10.
“Our bench all practice all this week has been playing well, so I’m not all that surprised that we came in and played better than the other games,” Magazzeni said of the her performance and that of the bench.
Alongside an improved defensive effort, head coach Jason Flores also sought a better assist-to-turnover ratio, and he got it as Fort Lewis had 21 helpers to just 10 turnovers. Katerina Garcia was the catalyst, chipping in seven assists against no turnovers, all while pulling in seven rebounds.
“The reason why we got there was because we did take care of the ball, we did take good shots, and that got us to that point,” Fort Lewis head coach Jason Flores said.
Keyondra White was the only player in double figures for Adams State (3-4, 0-3 RMAC), scoring 21 points.