Skyhawks dig deep against ’Diggers

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

Christie Groh had 16 points as Fort Lewis bounced back with a 80-73 win over Taylor McBain and Colorado School of Mines. Groh had four rebounds and three assists for the Skyhawks.

By Ryan Owens Herald staff writer

One day.

A different energy.

Better shooting.

Better result.

The Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team had a strong bounce-back performance Saturday night after Friday’s loss, leading by as many as 17 before toppling Colorado School of Mines 80-73 at Whalen Gymnasium.

Individual performances across the board were better:

Christie Groh scored 16 points for the Skyhawks.

Alex Easterbrook chipped in 15 with five assists.

Mary Brinton had a key showing off the bench with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Katerina Garcia was in command of the offense from the start, scoring 12 points and dishing out eight assists with no turnovers while contributing three steals on the defensive end. She was 3 of 6 shooting before exiting under her own power after a nasty spill late.

Erika Richards chipped in a double-double – 11 points and 11 rebounds.

“We just came out with an intensity that we needed to come out with,” Groh said. “Our shots were falling (Saturday).

“I think we worked the ball very well (Saturday). We passed up the good shot to get great shots.”

The improvement over Friday night was noticeable from the start, as the Skyhawks (9-8, 8-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) stormed to a quick 9-0 lead, and thanks to a better defensive showing, they were able to keep the Orediggers (11-8, 8-5 RMAC) at arm’s length for pretty much the entire contest and had a 78-61 lead until a late Mines’ run.

“It was important for us to come out the way we did,” FLC head coach Jason Flores said. “After (Friday) night, everyone, we were all frustrated. ... So (Saturday), it was really good. We came out really focused.”

Taylor Helbig scored 28 points for the Orediggers, but Mines shot just 37.5 percent from the field, including a paltry 31.4 percent in the first half.

“I was really happy to see that, because we came out with a different focus than we did (Friday) night,” Flores said.

And active rebounding across the board for the Skyhawks helped them stay within striking distance in that category, falling just short, 43-40, against a much taller Colorado Mines squad.

FLC’s ability to share the ball returned in spades Saturday, as well.

The Skyhawks had 23 assists on 30 field goals and turned the ball over just 11 times. Their three primary ballhandlers – Garcia, Easterbrook and Erin Curry – combined for 16 assists and just one turnover.

“You know Kat, she always wants to play well, so she wears it if she doesn’t. ... With her playing like that, we’re a really good team,” Flores said.

“Having 11 turnovers, I mean, that’s a pretty low number,” Groh said. “I mean, it’s very important to protect the ball while at the same time trying to get those good shots.”

FLC will hit the road Saturday to take on Adams State at 6 p.m. Saturday.

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