After starting the season 13-2, the Pratt Community College women’s basketball team has now dropped three straight— to Butler, Barton and now Cloud County, who bested PCC 87-77 Wednesday night at Dennis Lesh Sports Arena.
After starting the season 13-2, the Pratt Community College women’s basketball team has now dropped three straight— to Butler, Barton and now Cloud County, who bested PCC 87-77 Wednesday night at Dennis Lesh Sports Arena. Of the recent skid, PCC head coach Stephanie Thompson said, “I’m not frustrated with the kids. I can’t take anything away from them. They’re working hard. They’re doing everything we’ve asked them to. It just seems like, right now, the bounces aren’t going our way.” The Lady Beavers led early on, 10-4. Their first 5 buckets were each collected by a different girl— typical of the team basketball the Lady Beavers like to play. Kari Devlin, Karissa Pena (starting for the injured Lanina Spence), Tatiana Grant, Elle Stein and Maddie Pendry each scored to get PCC off to a good start. By the media time-out, Cloud had narrowed the lead to 19-17, and at the 5:00 mark they got the score tied at 29. From that point, Cloud went on a 16-9 run to take a 45-38 lead at halftime. Cloud began to hit some 3s and Pratt committed some turnovers. But perhaps most importantly, the block-charge call began to go against the Lady Beavers. After calling (correctly, in this reporter’s opinion) a couple of offensive fouls on the Lady T-Birds, the officials seemed to have decided that it would set a bad precedent if offensive players were not allowed to barrel over defenders on their way to the basket — and the whistles began to favor the charging Clouds. PCC came out of the halftime locker room breathing fire, and went on a 16-4 run to retake the lead at 54-49. “We made some defensive adjustments at halftime,” explained Coach Thompson. “We changed the way we were defending the post a little bit, but more importantly, we began to emphasize getting back and taking away their transition game.” At the second half media time-out, Pratt still led 62-59. Tatiana Grant scored 16 of her game-high 30 points during that stretch, with Elle Stein contributing 6. The game slowly turned against the Lady Beavers in the final 10 minutes. With 4:48 left, PCC had fallen behind 72-67. Stein worked hard for 6 points in the post and Maddie Pendry added a bucket and with 2:00 left on the clock, Pratt was just down 1 at 76-75. “We made some mental mistakes down the stretch that cost us,” said Coach Thompson. “We were only down one point, but then we gave up an offensive board on a missed free throw and we missed some free throws of our own.” Behind with time running down, the Beavers offensive efforts became more desperate and ineffective as they could only manage 2 points over the final two minutes. Meanwhile, the Clouds were sinking their shots from the charity stripe (14/19 in the second half), and eventually posted an 87-77 victory—although the game was much closer than the final score might indicate. In the final analysis, shooting % played a huge role in the game’s outcome. PCC shot 55% from the floor in the opening half, which normally would be good enough to give you a lead. In this game though, Cloud County shot a torrid 63% in the first half— allowing them to go into halftime ahead. The other shooting % that was a telling factor was from behind the arc. Pratt only made 1/12 (8%) while The Lady Thunderbirds made 6/19 (32%), allowing them to outscore the Lady Beavers by 15 from 3-point land—more than accounting for the margin of victory. Coach Thompson said, “I told our girls we either need to make more of our 3s than that, or just quit shooting them altogether.” The Lady Beavers will try to get back on the winning track Saturday when they travel to Dodge City to take on the Lady Conquistadors, tip-off at 6:00 p.m. PCC 38 39 77 Cloud 45 42 87 Dedrick 2, Kari Devlin 11, Tatiana Grant 30, Pendry 9, Pena 5, Calhoun 2, Elle Stein 18