Women open season at 3-0

Maybe the Falcons were thinking about their Thanksgiving feast a day early, or maybe they had overlooked Southern Colorado and were thinking about the tough schedule ahead.

Either way the Falcons came out rusty Wednesday night. Twelve minutes into the game the Falcons were down 14-2. The Falcons found their game and bounced back resiliently as they posted a 88-63 drubbing of Southern Colorado.

"It was a good wake-up call. We learned that we cannot coast through games like that," sophomore guard Kerie Hughes said.

After an SPU timeout, the team came out on a mission. They played tenacious defense, causing six consecutive turnovers, which they were able to turn into easy scoring opportunities.

In a matter of six minutes, the Falcons turned a 12-point deficit into a two-point lead, a lead which was never relinquished.

There was no consensus for any one explanation for the first 12 minutes of play. "We came out flat. The changing defenses helped spark the comeback," sophomore forward Kristin Poe said.

The Falcons confused the Coyotes as they changed their defense on nearly every possession. Southern Colorado gave the ball up 36 times.

The Falcons ended the first half with an eight-point run and went to the locker room with a 42-31 advantage.

The halftime break did not slow the women as they went on a 9-1 run during the third quarter. The Falcons held the Coyotes at bay, as they could not get within single digits.

Hughes has taken the role of point guard this year. The move has allowed Coach Gordy Presnell to utilize sophomore Bekah Beard as a scoring threat at two-guard.

Hughes has distributed the ball well; she had a game-high eight assists, most of which were to senior Gus Balogh.

Balogh led the way for the Falcons with 21 points, most of which were off of mid-range jumpers.

"Gus had that look in her eye when you knew we had to give her the ball; she was on fire," Hughes said.

Freshman center Valerie Gustafson has continued to be a pleasant surprise for the Falcons. The freshman has scored in double figures in two of her three collegiate games.

"I had to play well out there. My brothers were in town, and I had to prove they taught me well," Gustafson said. She became acclimated to the faster-paced college game by practicing with the team during the summer.

"I would recommend it to any freshman," Gustafson said.

The NCAA has put in place rules that outlaw hand checking of any kind during the game. A direct result of this has been an increase of fouls, which has led to longer games. "It really slows down the pace of the game. The players don’t like it, and the fans get bored," Poe said.

Poe was both benefited and hurt by the rule changes during Wednesday’s game. She scored eight of her 18 points from the free throw line before she fouled out.

Injuries continue to plague the Falcons as senior center Liz Guppy played sparingly in her first game back from a knee injury. Despite not playing all season, Guppy scored six points in her return.

"I’ll be ready for Thursday." Guppy said, referring to tomorrow’s game against cross-town rival Seattle University.

Junior guard Bree Prescott did not suit up for Wednesday’s game as she has been nursing a sprained ankle since practices started; however, she has been practicing this week and will be ready to play tomorrow.

The women will travel to Nampa, Idaho, to take on Northwest Nazarene Saturday in their last game before winter break, although the team will be busy during the break.

The women will play at Western Washington on Dec. 9 and then play three games at home over the break against Western Washington on Dec. 16, Western Baptist on Dec. 18, and Northwest College on Dec. 20.

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Title: Women open season at 3-0 | Author: Tim Kalso | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2000-11-29 | Internal ID: 1692