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FLC basketball roundup: Both squads lose on road to start season

Both teams are in action on Saturday as well
Kelsey Sorenson of Fort Lewis College drives to the basket while playing Colorado Mesa University last season. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Skyhawks basketball didn’t get off to the start it desired, with the women losing to Eastern New Mexico 78-57 and the men losing to No. 19 Angelo State 77-69.

The women played first in Portales, New Mexico, at 2:30 p.m. Turnovers doomed FLC as it had 30 turnovers to Eastern New Mexico.

“You’re not going to win college basketball games with six assists to 30 turnovers,” Skyhawks head coach Taylor Harris said.

FLC shot 32% from the field and 18% from the 3-point line.

Senior Kelsey Sorenson led the Skyhawks with 13 points on 4-12 shooting in only 19 minutes due to foul trouble.

The dual threat of Deja Adrian and Jamila Nansikombi-Gunter tore up the FLC 2-3 zone and combined for 47 points on 22-30 shooting.

Harris said the Skyhawks planned on doubling Adrian but their rotations were too slow.

“Our defense should fuel our offense and that wasn’t happening, so we were just trying to have our offense fuel our defense, and when that happens you’re just not going to make your shots,” he said.

FLC did have balanced scoring in the game. Redshirt junior forward Lilly Pepper had nine points, junior forward Samantha Wattawa had eight, junior guard Sydney Bevington had seven and junior guard Avery Evans had six points.

Sophomore guard Lanae Billy only had four points. Billy has had a nagging ankle injury and re-aggravated it in the second quarter, Harris said. He also said he didn’t play her as much as a precaution with her health in mind. Billy had good treatment and was expected to play on Saturday.

Harris also shifted the rotation to bring some new energy into the game.

“To their credit, that second group with the freshmen, they got the game back to eight points in the third quarter,” Harris said. “We were right on the verge because of their energy.”

The FLC men struggled with its defense as well, allowing Angelo State to shoot 53% from the field and 42% from 3-point range. A big chunk of Angelo State’s scoring came from Keyshawn Embery-Simpson. He finished with 30 points on 12-21 shooting from the field and 6-12 shooting from downtown. FLC head coach Bob Pietrack credited Embery-Simpson with making a lot of tough shots to keep Angelo State ahead of the Skyhawks.

On offense, the struggle was evident as well for FLC. Only three of 10 players for the Skyhawks shot 50% or better from the field. FLC shot 38% from the field and 35% from 3-point range.

Junior forward Brayden Carter led the way for the Skyhawks off the bench. Carter finished with 14 points on 6-7 shooting from the field, including 1-1 from behind the arc. Carter also had four rebounds. Junior guard Obi Agbim was the other FLC player in double figures, scoring 12 points on 3-10 shooting overall and 6-6 from the foul line.

Despite the loss, Pietrack believes he has a talented group that can turn this season into a special one for the Skyhawks.