Fort Lewis College had nowhere else to look other than its free-throw shooting in a double overtime loss Saturday in Colorado Springs.
The FLC women’s basketball team eliminated a 60-53 deficit against University of Colorado at Colorado Springs late in the fourth quarter behind 3-pointers from Chloe Warrington and Bailey Osmer. Both teams had a chance at the winning basket with the game tied 64-64 in the final minute, but both teams turned it over when given their opportunity.
In overtime, FLC received 3-pointers from Alison Chanhthala, Katrina Chandler and Warrington to build 73-68 lead with 1:59 to play in the bonus five minutes. But the Skyhawks missed four consecutive free throws to end overtime and shot 1-of-7 from the foul line in the bonus five minutes. Meanwhile, UCCS stormed back and tied the game at 74-74 with 3.2 seconds to go, as Kaity Hovasse got open in the corner for a 3 to force double overtime.
Anna Davern made a big shot and two free throws for UCCS to give the home team an 81-76 lead in the second overtime. Maddie Golla added a big 3 to make it 84-79 with one minute to go. Down 84-83 with 6.2 seconds to go, UCCS fouled FLC star sophomore forward Jordan Vasquez to send her to the line for a one-and-one free throw situation. She missed the first, and UCCS got a team rebound to hold on and eventually win 85-83.
“Our girls all had their chances to win the game at the free-throw line, especially,” FLC head coach Orlando Griego said. “We were up at regulation and up in that first overtime and had our chances to extend the lead and to push it to a two- or three-possession game. Everyone had valuable chances, and we let it slip through our fingers. This one hurts.”
The final result came after FLC had a chance to inbound the ball and try a game-tying or winning shot with 1.9 seconds to go, but the inbounds pass sailed out of bounds without an FLC player getting their hands on it.
FLC (4-7 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) shot only 12-of-29 from the foul line in regulation and the first overtime. That number finished at 17-of-36.
Vasquez was big for Fort Lewis through three quarters. The sophomore forward had 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and had added eight rebounds. But she was quiet the rest of the night and finished with 19 points and the same eight rebounds to go with five turnovers.
“They got her out of rhythm,” Griego said of the UCCS defense on Vasquez. “She was trying to force shots and passes, and they did a god job collapsing and bringing double teams down on her. They made her make tough decisions.”
Though FLC was dismal at the foul line, the Skyhawks largely made up for it with 3-point shooting. FLC made 10-of-30 in the game. Warrington scored 13 points while Chandler and Alyssa Adams each had 14. Adams was the lone FLC player to shoot better than 50% from the foul line, as she made all five of her attempts.
“Outside of Alyssa Adams, everyone struggled at the line,” Griego said. “It’s hard to pinpoint because we practice free throws extra and put emphasis into it. It’s a matter of mental focus and putting the ball in the hole. We fed off the misses. One person missed, then the next person missed.”
Jessica Nation led UCCS (3-8 RMAC) with a career-high 19 points. She also snagged nine rebounds. Golla and Davern each had 15 points. Tatum Tellin added 13 points and nine rebounds, while Hovasse finished with seven points and nine rebounds. UCCS shot 12-of-25 from 3-point range as well as 15-of-25 free throws.
“We had a defensive breakdown,” Griego said of Hovasse’s game-tying 3 to end the first overtime. “We had a specific defense drawn up but didn’t do a good enough job communicating and switching. We got lost out there and let a college player shoot a wide-open 3. Credit to her for making it and pushing it to another overtime.”
The Skyhawks had won three games in a row in January but have now lost three in a row. FLC will return home for five of its next six games beginning with Colorado School of Mines at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“We don’t want to forget about this one going forward,” Griego said. “We need to make this one something we learn from and let it make us hungry. We need to use it as a coaching staff and as players to become a better program, a better unit and team. We have five out of our last eight games this season at home, and we need to take care of business and go one game at a time. At the end of the day, our girls are upset about this one, as they should be. We let this one get away.”