Arieona Rosborough (pictured) tallied a career-best 26 points on Thursday night. Photo by Luke Zayas/True To The Cru
BELTON, Texas- In a game in which both teams performed above their offensive standards, the UMHB women’s basketball team notched its seventh straight conference victory, defeating Sul Ross State, 92-81, on Thursday night.
It kept the Crusaders, who are receiving votes in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll, in sole possession of first place in the ASC standings, and 11-2 on the year.
Despite UMHB outscoring SRSU in all four quarters, the Lobos remained in the fight for the contest’s entirety, even cutting the deficit to a mere two points, 66-64, with 7:11 remaining in the fourth quarter. That is when Arieona Rosborough and Ashley Faux took over.
Faux converted on two free throws to extend the lead to four, and nearly a minute later, with the Lobos now trailing by just three, Rosborough took the ball to the lane, spinning and laying it off the glass as she was fouled. The guard converted the free throw that followed the made shot, and on the following possession, it was Faux who connected on a 15-footer. Rosborough’s fast break layup 23 seconds later made it a 10-point game, and while SRSU managed to cut the score to as few as five points in the final two minutes, it was that 8-0 run that put it away.
“They’re very basketball intelligent,” UMHB head coach Mark Morefield said of his team. “I felt like at that time, we were not getting to the rim enough. We were shooting jump shots, and letting Sul Ross get to the [free-throw] line. You’re not going to get fouled shooting jump shots. And defensively, we needed to lock in.”
Though the Lobos entered Thursday’s contest ranking seventh in the ASC in scoring offense, with 65.8 points per game, head coach Katie Novak’s team matched UMHB stride for stride from the onset, with SRSU’s Cassie Logan matching a Rosborough layup on the Lobos’ first possession of the contest.
The Cru jumped out to a 13-4 advantage early, playing what Morefield described as “exceptional” offense. But by the end of the first quarter, it was UMHB holding a slim, 19-17 advantage.
Throughout the contest, the defense was a point of emphasis for Morefield, who, while impressed by the offensive production, made it clear that the defensive performance was far from stellar. UMHB allowed the most points it had all season, as SRSU shot 40.8 percent from the field, and 38.5 from three-point range.
“Defensively, it was probably our worst defensive game,”Morefield said. “It was the largest point production we’ve given up to an opponent this year. Obviously that bothered me. Our energy and effort wasn’t there on the defensive end. We were very slow-reacting.”
The Lobos tallied 38 of their points in the paint, and as Morefield noted, had good success on drives to the lane. In part, that had to do with the scheme SRSU, who did not have a player over 6’0 on the roster, was running, and how it matched up against the UMHB post. Leading rebounder Kaitlyn Kollmorgen was unavailable for the second straight game so was sophomore post Meagan Johnson.
“The biggest problem is that we have true post players,” Morefield said. “It puts us in a bad spot because you’re asking Catherine [Kaiser] and Aja [Holmes] to guard small forwards. Defensively, that hurt us.”
SRSU evened the score at 21 with 7:53 in the second quarter, but consecutive scores from Rosborough put the Cru back in the lead. At halftime, the Lobos led by six.
Faux opened the third quarter with a three-pointer, making it 42-33, and the advantage was extended to as many as 15 points midway through the period. But then UMHB hit a cold spell, as SRSU mounted a 10-0 run between the end of the third and beginning of the fourth, cutting the margin to single digits again. It was at that point that the Cru reached a crossroads, and the team responded with a game-clinching run.
“When we did get to the rim and the free throw line, it started to pay dividends for us,” Morefield noted.
“Playing as one” was something Morefield noted following Monday’s win over Concordia, and once again proved key in the scoring success Thursday. UMHB tallied a season-high in points, as five different Crusaders-Rosborough, Faux, Bethany McLeod, Aja Holmes and Alexia Martin-recorded double-digit scoring efforts. Rosborough contributed with a career-high 26 points, and 10 rebounds; her second straight double-double after Monday’s 10-point, 15-rebound performance.
“She’s a very hard-worker,” Morefield said of Rosborough. “This is the reward when you put that much time into your game. We can count on her to get a bucket.”
UMHB returns to action in Belton Saturday, hosting Howard Payne at 1:00 p.m. CT. It caps a three-game homestand for the Cru, before heading out to East Texas next week. HPU is 3-9 on the year.
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