Fort Lewis women’s team overwhelms Chadron State

The Skyhawks added an extra 2 minutes to their long holiday break.

In their first game since Dec. 17, the Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team let Chadron State score first, waiting almost 2 minutes to score its first basket. It was the first of many Friday night in Chadron, Neb.

Kaile Magazzeni scored a team-high and career-high 16 points as one of four Skyhawks to score in the double figures, the Fort Lewis bench got plenty of game-time practice, and the Skyhawks routed the Rocky Montain Athletic Conference Eagles 78-66 to start off 2013. And it wasn’t that close.

“The whole team got to play, and I’m really happy about that part,” Fort Lewis head coach Jason Flores said. “We did what we needed to do. Kaile came off the bench, gave us really good production ... was efficient from the floor,” he said of his sophomore forward.

“We’re starting to develop some of those players that haven’t really gotten many minutes up until now, and they’re starting to develop into giving us sparks off the bench.”

Starters Ashley Kuchar and Erika Richards each scored 15 points ahead of Katerina Garcia’s 11 to push the Skyhawks up by as many as 26 with 13:20 to go in the second half following a 41-26 score at the half.

From there, Fort Lewis’ bench saw most of the court, even as the Eagles tried to creep back in the waning minutes behind 22 points from Kattie Ranta and 15 from Kate Simonton.

The Skyhawks’ bench scored 27 points.

“It’s fun for them to get in; it’s fun for our other kids to have them in and support them,” Flores said. “Any game when you can play everybody is a coaches dream.”

The biggest difference Friday was on defense, though, where the Skyhawks racked up 17 steals, scoring 31 of their points off of turnovers.

“For us, offensively it gives us more possessions. That’s key for us,” Flores said. “And we’re usually outsized, so we’ve got to do things to create those possessions and not allow people to maybe get us in size mismatches and those kind of things.”

Alex Easterbrook had a game-high seven steals for Fort Lewis, and Garcia had four.

Chadron State (1-10, 1-6 in the RMAC) turned over the ball 27 times, compared with 18 from the Skyhawks (4-6 overall, 3-3 RMAC).

The Skyhawks will play Black Hills State at 5:30 p.m. today at Spearfish, S.D.