Lady Badgers fall in 55-64 battle with tough SLCC
By James Tilson
PRICE—Coming up just short against their nemesis, the Snow College women’s basketball team lost in the finals of the Region 18 Tournament last Saturday to Salt Lake Community College, 55-64.
SLCC has long been the gold standard in the Scenic West Athletic Conference, and this year was no different. Even though the Lady Badgers won a share of the conference regular season title, they still lost to the Lady Bruins two out of the three times they played this year.
And in the final game, even though the Lady Badgers looked to have the more dangerous offense, the Lady Bruins brought the defensive intensity to give the Lady Badgers fits.
“Salt Lake was just tougher tonight on defense,” said Head Coach Mike Russell. “We had a hard time even getting into our plays. We couldn’t reverse the ball because they denied the reversal. Salt Lake is very well coached. We missed some easy ones that could’ve kept it close.”
Snow started the game looking to exploit its size advantage underneath the basket. The Lady Badgers built a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, which grew to as much as a 21-13 lead before the wheels fell off the Snow offense in the second quarter.
SLCC turned up the defensive intensity, and started to force turnovers from Snow. SLCC went on a 13-0 run, while forcing 5 turnovers. Snow was finally able to stop the bleeding, but the damage had been done and SLCC lead at the half, 28-33.
In the second half, SLCC kept bringing the “D” and Snow still could not figure it out. Neither team did very well on offense— Snow shot 27 percent in the third quarter, while SLCC only shot 20 percent—but SLCC was able to get to the charity stripe at a much greater rate. SLCC shot 27 free throws in the second half compared to Snow’s 8.
Snow made a run at the Lady Bruins in the fourth quarter, getting as close as 45-48 with seven minutes left in the game. But Snow again was plagued with turnovers, and could not overtake the Lady Bruins.
The Lady Badgers have fought injury woes this season, and several players who had contributed significant playing time were forced to watch from the bench. In the final game, Coach Russell was forced into a seven player rotation most of the time. The Lady Badgers were visibly fatigued in the final game, and their offense did not look as crisp as it did earlier in the year.
However, Coach Russell was quick to credit Salt Lake’s team effort and defense, and not fatigue by the Lady Badgers. “I think both teams were tired. I don’t believe that’s why we lost.” The Lady Badgers finished the year with a 22-9 overall record, and a 9-3 regular season record in the SWAC. They will wait to see if they get an at-large bid for the NJCAA National Tournament later this month.