Women’s basketball faces challenging season

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Crusader women huddle mid-game to discuss play strategy. Photo courtesy of UD Athletics.

The University of Dallas women’s basketball team lost a pair of conference games at home this past weekend against Colorado College and Johnson and Wales University. The losses extend UD’s losing streak to seven games, in what has been a tough season for the Crusaders.

On Friday, the Crusaders started off the game well, leading in the first quarter 15-13 as the defense limited Colorado to under 30 percent shooting from the floor and 0-6 from beyond the three-point line. However, the game began to get away from Dallas, as the Tigers jumped out to a 30-21 halftime lead. The game slowed to a crawl in the third quarter, as both teams combined for 19 fouls and shot 30 of the game’s 54 free throws. Colorado comfortably closed out the game, increasing their lead en route to a 75-57 victory over UD.

“Our team focus was to match the intensity of Colorado, and the girls did just that,” said Head Coach Lacey Burns. “They came out focused from the tip. During the second quarter, we missed some defensive assignments, which led to easy buckets for the Tigers. Overall, I was very proud of how our team competed for 40 minutes. Our energy was contagious from start to finish.”

Freshman Faith Starnes and sophomore Vanessa Diaz led the Crusaders in scoring, totaling 15 points apiece. Starnes, in her first game back since being injured, scored all of her points on three-pointers, tying a career-high of five made threes. Diaz scored most of her points from the free throw line, as she shot 3-9 from the field and sunk 9-14 free throws. Sophomore Jules Oliveti also contributed a strong performance with her second double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and hauling in 10 rebounds.

The Crusaders started off Saturday’s game strong against Johnson and Wales, as UD led the Wildcats by 17-16 at the end of the first quarter and by 29-28 at halftime. The Crusaders outshot Johnson and Wales 42.9 percent -38.5 percent in the first half and outrebounded the Wildcats 16-10. A poor third quarter crippled Dallas, losing the period 18-6. Dallas shot just 2-9 in the quarter and committed 8 turnovers. UD bounced back and won the 4th 21-16, shooting almost 60% for the frame, but still fell short as they lost the game 62-56.

“We seem to struggle putting four quarters together, and JW capitalized on that in the third,” Burns said. Unfortunately, our energy was not the same like the night before. Each game we need a collective group effort. We have to learn to value the ball every possession and not take multiple [possessions] off. We are young and need to learn that lesson.”

Diaz reached double digits again, scoring 12 points and chipping in six rebounds. Starnes was held scoreless, only taking three shots in the game. Oliveti had a career-high 24 points in the game, with half of them coming in the fourth quarter. Her previous best was 14 points, which she did twice against Southwestern University and Texas Lutheran University back on Jan. 12 and 18.  

“Jules has been on fire,” Burns said. “I’m so excited to see her be successful on the court. She deserves the success she is having. She works hard in practice and has been one of our most consistent players. Her future is bright.”

The losses drop UD to 1-17 for the season and 1-9 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) play. The Crusaders will conclude January with a game on the road against Austin College on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Their next home game will be against Southwestern Adventist University on Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m.

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