SHERIDAN — The wear and tear of four games in seven days showed Saturday inside the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome. The Sheridan College women’s basketball team, which had lost the first three games of that grueling stretch, didn’t have much left in the tank for Saturday’s game against Western Wyoming Community College.
The Lady Generals failed to eclipse the 60-point mark for the third time this season but SC still gutted out a 59-58 victory to snap its modest skid and log its first Region IX victory of the season.
“Games like this, we found a way to win at the end of the day, and in conference, I don’t think it matters,” SC head coach Ryan Davis said. “… We’ll take a win.”
Wins have been hard to come by recently for the Lady Generals. After a 10-2 start to the season, SC lost four straight, the last three coming by a combined 10 points.
Even if in those close losses Davis felt his team performed better than it did Saturday, it certainly is more gratifying to get off the schnide.
“It just feels so much different. Two points the other way and we would be sitting here and I would be feeling terrible. And two points this way makes you feel completely different,” Davis said. “That’s been the name of the game since we got back (from Christmas break), close losses.”
Saturday could haven fallen into that recent trend, but the Lady Generals did just enough down the stretch. SC led 52-43 ahead of the fourth quarter but went the first 5:54 of the fourth frame without a point.
In that time, the Lady Mustangs had whittled their deficit down to two, and Davis frantically tried to find a lineup that could produce offensively and have the legs to defend. Marta Colas came off the bench to end the drought with a fast-break layup, and teammate Lani Taliauli made back-to-back field goals that put the Lady Generals up 58-55 with 1:32 remaining.
SC left the door ajar, missing three of its final four free-throw attempts, and Western Wyoming cut it to one at 59-58 with nine seconds to play. But the Lady Mustangs couldn’t coral a Lady General in the game’s waning moments to force a foul and extend the game.
Sheridan shot 42.6 percent (23 of 54) from the field, connected on just 2 of 22 shots from 3-point land, and only made 11 of 19 from the charity stripe. Those numbers don’t usually lead to a victory, and Taliauli simply credits her team’s tenacity as the reason the Lady Generals improved to 11-7 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
“I just think we just really wanted to win,” Taliauli said. “We’ve actually had really good team chemistry this last week, and our energy has been there for each other. I think we just really wanted a ‘W.’”
Taliauli led the Lady Generals with 13 points, and Noora Parttimaa added 11 points. Those two played a large role in Sheridan erasing a 13-9 first quarter deficit to own a 32-22 halftime lead. Sheridan extended its cushion to as many as 14 points in the third stanza.
Taliauli and Parttimaa will likely have to play even better and receive plenty of help Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. when the Lady Generals host Casper College. The Lady Thunderbirds are unbeaten in conference play and own a 13-4 overall record.
Western Wyoming…13 9 21 15 — 58
Sheridan College…. 9 23 20 7 — 59
Western Wyoming — Radenkova 22; Re. Walsh 11; Facchini 9; Ra. Walsh 8; Reed 6; Bean 2
Sheridan College — Taliauli 13; Parttimaa 11; Solovi 9; Green 8; Oca 7; Walker 3; Hoyer 3; Colas 2; Betham 2; Tuisavura 1
Western Wyoming 38 (Facchini 8); Sheridan College 42 (Green 11)
Western Wyoming 4 (Radenkova 1; Re. Walsh 1; Reed 1; Facchini 1); Sheridan College 14 (Tuisavura 3)