SHERIDAN — Tamara Brine finished with a career-high 33 points, and the Sheridan College women’s basketball team cruised to an 87-75 victory over Eastern Wyoming College Saturday.
SC head coach Frank McCarthy said each game is about getting better and preparing for the looming conference season. He was pleased with the way his team improved over the weekend.
The Lady Generals swept the Lions Club Tournament, winning both of what McCarthy considered two of their best games of the season. The two wins make Sheridan winners of six of its last seven games and two games over .500 for the first time this year.
The shaky start to the season — and the individual games that coincided — seems to be a thing of the past as SC has come out with more energy in their recent victories.
The Lady Generals jumped to a 7-0 lead Friday in an eventual 35-point win over Rocky Mountain College JV, and they were even better Saturday.
Sheridan opened with a 12-0 run on Eastern Wyoming, and its stingy defense held the Lady Lancers to just 13 points in the first quarter.
“Once we get that lead, we seem to get more relaxed,” McCarthy said. “Then we get a little more free-flowing, and I think that’s really helped us.”
Eastern Wyoming adjusted to Sheridan’s full-court press in the second quarter and chipped at the lead early with four quick baskets.
But Brine and the Lady Generals offense took care of business to keep the lead at 40-28 at halftime.
While the shooting woes continued for Sheridan’s leading scorer Zuzana Talackova, Brine took over the offense and kept the Lady Generals in front.
Talackova, who finished just 3 of 11 Friday, shot 5 of 16 in the first half Saturday. But she stepped back, took only four shots in the second half and found a way to get Brine the ball.
Brine scored 17 points in the first half to go with five rebounds, and the Lady Generals secured a halftime lead for the seventh time this season.
“This was Tamara’s best game of her career, I think,” McCarthy said. “She seemed more confident. She attacked the basket, knocked down shots. What’s amazing is she led us in scoring and rebounding and had four assists.”
In the second half, the strong defense continued. Only this time, McCarthy pulled back the full-court press and started hounding the Eastern Wyoming guards in the half court.
While Talackova couldn’t get her shots to fall, she made things equally difficult for Eastern’s leading scorer, Sarah Bernsang. Talackova, who guarded Bernsang for the majority of the contest, held the Eastern point guard to just 11 shot attempts and only 11 points. Bernsang also had three turnovers and only two assists.
And the entire Sheridan defense followed suit.
The Lady Generals forced 23 turnovers and Eastern finished with just 10 assists on 28 made field goals. Sheridan had eight steals and seven blocks in the game.
Meanwhile, the Sheridan offense assisted on 17 of its 33 made field goals, including a season-high seven from Sarah Rawlings.
Rawlings played Robin to Brine’s Batman in the second half. To go with her seven assists, Rawlings finished with 11 points, including three 3-pointers in the second half that helped stretch the lead to as many as 20.
With the shots falling on the outside, Ashlie Blackburn came off the bench to score 15 in the paint as the Lady Generals cruised to an easy win over Eastern.
“Some people have off nights,” McCarthy said. “But when other people can pick it up, that’s nice. It makes us less one dimensional.”
Sheridan will take on Great Falls and Dawson Community College this weekend at the Sheridan Classic Tournament at the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome.