A bizarre, long season for the Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team got a little more weird and a little longer Tuesday.
The Skyhawks traveled to Alamosa at long last for a game originally scheduled Jan. 23 but was postponed because of COVID-19 issues with the host Adams State Grizzlies. The game was scheduled to be played Monday but then postponed an extra day because the weekend’s COVID-19 test results had not returned in time because of winter weather and the Presidents’ Day holiday.
Still awaiting the return of test results, the game then was pushed back from a 4 p.m. tipoff to 5 p.m., as test results finally arrived Tuesday afternoon after FLC had already traveled to Alamosa.
Once the teams got on the court, the host Grizzlies (3-7 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) controlled the action in a 70-55 victory. It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Skyhawks (4-9 RMAC).
“It was tough, but at the same time we have always prepared our team to not create excuses for ourselves,” FLC head coach Orlando Griego said of the schedule changes. “If the opportunity arises to be able to play, we need to be ready to do the best we can to try to win. We just didn’t play very good team basketball tonight.”
FLC was supposed to play Regis at home on Saturday, but the Rangers canceled that game citing winter weather and a drive Friday night from Gunnison to Durango for not making the trip. Meanwhile, Colorado School of Mines made the same trip but in reverse to play in Gunnison at Western Colorado on Saturday night.
The blows have just kept coming to a Skyhawks team fighting to make the RMAC tournament. Eight of the conference’s 15 teams make the postseason event, and FLC was in ninth right behind Regis going into the anticipated game Saturday, and that included the conference’s only forfeit loss issued to FLC earlier in the season when there were COVID-19 concerns within the Skyhawks’ team before a game scheduled against South Dakota Mines.
“It’s a learning moment for us in the sense of controlling what we can control,” Griego said.
FLC outrebounded Adams State and shot a solid percentage Tuesday night. But FLC turned the ball over an alarming 29 times that the Grizzlies turned into 25 points. Adams State, meanwhile, turned it over 18 times, but FLC turned that into only eight points.
“If you have 30 turnovers in a game on the road in the RMAC, you’re not putting yourself in a position to win the game,” Griego said. “They weren’t pressuring us, they were just scrappy and our girls didn’t respond as a collective group. We were more on our heels instead of looking to be in attack mode.”
Adams State also shot 7-of-18 at the 3-point line compared to 3-of-23 for FLC. Sophomore forward Jordan Vasquez led FLC with 27 points and 10 rebounds. She was 11-of-16 shooting. Katrina Chandler, who had five turnovers, had her best offensive game of the season for FLC, as she scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3.
Only five players scored in the game for FLC. Alyssa Adams had five points, while Bailey Osmer and Sydney Candelaria each scored four. Ten FLC players had a turnover, and nine of those had more than one.
“We didn’t shoot very well. We have to have other people scoring and make sure we have several people contributing,” Griego said. “It’s hard when we’re not making shots, and we have to be more consistent at the 3-point line when we have open shots.
Adams State saw balanced scoring up and down the lineup led by 18 points from Laura Gutierrez, who also had three steals. Kayla Harris, who had four steals, scored 11 points off the bench, while Elaina Watson had 11.
The two teams will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Durango.