By Brian Hula
This past weekend, the University of Dallas women’s basketball team lost two on the road, dropping their season record to 13-10. The Crusaders lost 72-65 at Schreiner University on Friday and fell 66-39 to Trinity University on Saturday.
The Crusaders started off strongly in the first half of their game against the Schreiner University Mountaineers. Thanks to two three-pointers by sophomore guard Sammi Tso and a strong showing by freshman forward Michelle DeCoud, the Crusaders built a 16-9 lead. The Mountaineers battled back to even the score, but the navy and white rattled off ten straight points to claim a 26-16 lead. The UD women went into the locker room leading 35-24.
After halftime, the Crusaders struggled to maintain the same offensive efficiency that they had shown in the first half. The Mountaineers slowly chipped away at the deficit and took a one-point lead, 44-43, with 10:35 left to play. From that point, Tso made two more threes back to back, helping the Crusaders reclaim the lead, 49-44. The two teams battled back and forth until Schreiner embarked on a 12-0 run to go up 63-51 with under four minutes remaining.
The UD women fought back to draw within six points, 71-65, with only six seconds left in the game. Tso missed a vital three-point shot that would have cut the deficit to three points, and the Schreiner women made one more free-throw to win 72-65. Both DeCoud and Tso had strong offensive performances despite the loss, coming out of the game with 21 and 17 points, respectively. However, the Crusaders only had nine bench points and committed a disastrous 21 turnovers.
In contrast to Friday’s game, the UD women struggled during the opening minutes of their game on Saturday, allowing the Trinity Tigers to race out to a 13-0 lead. Although a three-point basket from junior forward Chelsea Cole and two free throws from sophomore forward Seana Stoia put the Crusaders on the board, the Trinity women continued their explosive offensive performance to take a 29-5 lead. UD cut the deficit to 16 points thanks to two free throws by DeCoud, but the Tigers responded by pouring in 14 straight points to take a commanding 45-15 lead. UD went into halftime trailing 47-19.
The second half was a low-scoring affair on both sides. Although the navy and white had four different players make a three-point basket, the Crusaders made only two field goals inside the arc throughout the half. The UD women were never able to mount a comeback after the poor defensive showing in the first half and lost the game 66-39. The Crusaders did not have a single player in double figures; Stoia and DeCoud led the Crusaders in scoring with nine points apiece.
Both Tso and DeCoud said that the team struggled to communicate effectively in the two games. Senior forward Brooke Hagemann lauded the team’s performance in the first half of Friday’s game but said that the team performed poorly on defense for the remainder of the road trip.
“We played one good half both offensively and defensively against Schreiner, but the second half was a struggle to stop them from scoring and the whole game against Trinity we struggled [in] getting stops,” Hagemann said.
Tso said that the team needed to play with a “changed attitude” in the last two games of the season to gain momentum before playing in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship tournament. DeCoud also stressed the importance of the team’s mentality in the last two games.
“We need to get in the right mindset this week because we have the talents and skills we need [to win,]” DeCoud said.