SCAC basketball tournament hopes still alive

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Junior forward Michelle DeCoud tries to find an open teammate in the tough game against Austin College. Photo courtesy of UD Athletics.

The University of Dallas women’s basketball team lost both their away games this past weekend to Southwestern University and Texas Lutheran University (TLU).

Losing is never fun, but the University of Dallas women’s basketball team has still given themselves a chance to qualify for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament despite a 2-11 conference record.

They added two more losses over the weekend as they dropped road games against Southwestern University and TLU on Friday and Saturday.

“It’s the same old story,” Head Coach Greta Grothe said. “Just got to play 40 minutes against good teams.”

In the game against Southwestern, offense was hard to come by in the first half. The Pirates jumped out to an 0-6 lead, but the Crusaders made enough plays defensively to stay in the game, though they trailed 5-10 at the end of the first quarter.

Southwestern extended their lead to 7-16, but the Crusaders fought back and knocked down some three pointers, including one which senior guard Caitlyn Worry banked in at the buzzer to give the Crusaders a 20-17 lead at halftime.

“We played well in the first half, and then they scored quickly in the third, and then they just took us out of our game,” Grothe said.

Dallas had the lead, but instead of capitalizing on the opportunity the Crusaders allowed Southwestern to go nuts in the third quarter, reaching 32 points after scoring just 17 in the first two, while the Crusaders managed only nine points.

Southwestern shot 66 percent from the floor in the quarter, including going two of two from three, and they forced seven Crusader turnovers in the quarters as well.

Dallas regrouped and actually won the fourth quarter, but it was much too late as the Pirates claimed the final victory at 50-68.

The Crusaders then traveled down to Seguin, Texas to take on Texas Lutheran, another team to whom they had lost a close match at home. This one was not close, however, as the Crusaders looked outmatched from the get go, trailing 11-23 at the end of the first quarter and 22-45 at halftime.

Grothe understands that you have to be ready to play from the tip against good teams.

“It’s very hard to play catch up against them,” Grothe said.

With the game already decided, the Crusaders turned in a better second half performance, outscoring the Bulldogs 27-23, but TLU was doing a lot to run out the clock and get the game over.

“We ended up winning the second half, but unfortunately you need to play both halves to win,” Grothe said.

The Crusaders play their final regular season game on Saturday, Feb. 18 at home against Colorado College, and despite their struggles in conference, a win will clinch a spot in the SCAC tournament.

Dallas is currently tied with Centenary College for sixth place, but hold the tiebreaker as they swept Centenary this season.

If the Crusaders win they are guaranteed a spot. If they lose and Centenary beats Austin College, Centenary will be in. If Dallas and Centenary both lose, then there will be a three-way tie between them and Colorado, with the three teams all having beaten each other for their only wins, and at that point it would be up to a tiebreaker.

In the first matchup against Austin College this season, Centenary lost 67-45.

In preparation for the season-defining game, Grothe essentially gave the team three days off after Saturday’s game.

“Right now we need a break,” Grothe said.

The coach isn’t worried about her team’s preparation, however.

“The girls are in the gym on their own,” Grothe said. “They know what it takes and they’re going to do it.”

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