By Brian Hula
After routing Southern Adventist University on Wednesday in a game that featured the unveiling of the new Crusader mascot, the University of Dallas women’s basketball team traveled to Oregon over the weekend and split two games against New Hope Christian College and Linfield College.
Wednesday’s home game featured a large crowd eager to see the new mascot introduced at halftime, and the Crusaders treated the fans to a dominating performance. UD controlled the game from the very outset, racing to a 19-2 lead. The team was able to take advantage of many fast-break opportunities, most of them due to key performances by sophomore Holly Tonry.
During the halftime break, the enthusiastic crowd cheered as the new mascot broke through a paper banner and charged onto the court. President Keefe gave a spirited, humorous speech before the introduction of the Crusader, and then it was back to play for the Lady Crusaders.
The navy and blue continued their dominating performance in the second half, taking the victory with a score of 92-43. Sophomore Lindsey Gendron led the Crusaders with 16 points, including three three-pointers. Even though only three Crusaders scored in double figures, a total of 12 players scored throughout the night.
The first game of the Crusaders’ road trip took place on Friday night at New Hope Christian College. The game was close throughout the first half, with the New Hope Christian Deacons claiming a slim halftime lead of 41-40. The Crusaders eventually had a lead of 61-60, but could not overcome a late 9-0 run by the Deacons as they fell 79-72. UD lost despite having more rebounds and forcing more turnovers than New Hope Christian.
In the second game, the Crusaders once again had a halftime deficit of one point, 28-27. However, the Crusaders took advantage of offensive rebounds and this, along with a strong contribution from the bench players, led them to win 61-46. The victory was the Crusaders’ first on-the-road win of the season. Senior Sammi Tso said that in the game against Linfield, the team was “more focused and brought more energy to the floor.”
Freshman Michelle DeCoud gave a stellar performance during the two road games. She had 17 points and 10 rebounds against New Hope Christian and 17 points and 9 rebounds against Linfield. Senior Marleyna Bustamante also scored in double-digits in both games.
Tso also mentioned that she was pleased with the tenaciousness of the team in both road games: “We never gave up, we fought until the very end.” Going forward, she said the team still must improve on “having consistent energy every game.”