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Balanced offense not enough for FLC women

Skyhawks go 0-2 at Pak-A-Sak Thanksgiving Classic

A balanced attack wasn’t enough for the Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team on Saturday. The Skyhawks dropped an 87-71 decision to Southwestern Oklahoma State University on the final day of the Pak-A-Sak Thanksgiving Classic in Canyon, Texas.

On Friday, turnovers plagued the Skyhawks in a 93-56 loss to West Texas A&M University in their tournament opener.

Redshirt junior Alyssa Adams bettered the career-high mark she set Friday, putting up 22 points and going 4-of-8 from deep against Southwestern Oklahoma. Redshirt sophomore Kelsey Sorenson posted her first double-double of the year with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Rounding out the double-digit scorers were redshirt sophomore Jana Conejero (15 points) and redshirt senior Sydney Candelaria (15 points).

Fort Lewis shot 43% (27-of-63) from the field versus 46% (33-of-71) for SWOSU. The Bulldogs found success from deep, draining 13 threes compared with seven for the Skyhawks. The Skyhawks had 42 rebounds for the contest, including 14 offensive boards, while the Bulldogs wrapped up the game with 34.

“Today we played free and with confidence,” said head coach Taylor Harris. “Our group had a great mindset going into the game about being positive and playing for each other. This led to our offensive output, but we still need to focus on prioritizing defense. Games like this show us that we can score enough points to win, we just need to get the stops to go along with the scoring.”

Sorenson and Adams combined for six points from the jump, finding FLC ahead 6-3 two minutes into play. The Bulldogs capitalized on a run to take an 11-6 lead before a three from Adams cut it to two points. The Skyhawks continued to keep the quarter within reach as a second-chance jumper from Candelaria brought it to 16-14 with 3:01 remaining. SWOSU found a burst in the final minutes of the quarter to carry a 26-17 lead into the second.

Conejero took matters into her own hands in the second quarter, knocking down a pair of jumpers to bring the deficit to five points. The Skyhawks got as close as four points throughout the frame, but the Bulldogs found an answer to each ensuing attack, bringing a 48-35 advantage into the break.

FLC dropped in a pair of free throws from Candelaria, followed by a savvy three-pointer from Conejero to see the score at 55-42 with just under seven minutes remaining in the third. Conejero continued her tear in the middle-part of the quarter, knocking down a pull-up jumper with 4:37 to go, finding FLC within 10 points. The Bulldogs went on a six-point run, which was snapped by a Candelaria three to see the score at 61-48. Adams and Candelaria each picked up points down the stretch, but the lead stood at 69-53 after three quarters of play.

Four players contributed points as the fourth got underway, finding the Skyhawks within 12 points with eight minutes to go. Five points from Adams dropped the lead to single digits for the first time since the second quarter, bringing it to 80-71 with 4:40 on the clock. Despite the late pressure, SWOSU connected on three unanswered shots to close out the game in a final score of 87-71.

Against West Texas, Fort Lewis shot 27% (14-of-51) compared with 46% (36-of-78) for the Buffs.

Turnovers were a difference-maker in the contest, with FLC committing 28 to just eight for West Texas. Adams scored 19 points to lead all players, a career-high she broke the next night. Sorenson chipped in seven points and 10 rebounds. Candelaria followed with seven points and six rebounds.

With the losses, the Skyhawks conclude their nonconference schedule 1-5 overall. West Texas improved to 3-5, and Southwestern Oklahoma improved to 6-2.

FLC will now begin RMAC play at Chadron State College (1-4) on Friday.