The University of Dallas women’s basketball team fell to Johnson & Wales University this past Friday, January 31. After tipping-off at 7:30, the Crusaders lost a close contest by a score of 48-44. Statistically, Dallas outperformed Johnson & Wales in almost every category. The Crusaders shot better from the field, with their 34.5% shooting topping the Wildcats’ 30 percent. Their 11 assists beat out JWU’s nine.
Although both teams committed 21 turnovers, Dallas appeared more prepared to take advantage of those turnovers as they outscored Johnson & Wales 17-12 in points off turnovers. To top it all off, the Crusaders’ bench dominated JWU’s. Jules Oliveti led the charge for the Crusaders with 10 points off the bench, contributing to Dallas’ 14-3 margin. After three quarters, Dallas led Johnson & Wales 31-30.
What sealed the deal for the Wildcats was their second-chance points. Even though both teams finished with nine offensive rebounds, the Wildcats capitalized off theirs with a 10-2 advantage. This, combined with a strong fourth quarter by JWU, proved to be the deciding factor in the game.
Despite being down for most of the game, the Wildcats didn’t let a slow start bother them. Johnson & Wales found themselves in a 13-6 hole after the first quarter, and despite outscoring the Crusaders 10-8 in the second quarter and 14-10 in the third, the Wildcats were still down heading into the fourth.
It was tough defensive stops paired with clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch that helped the Wildcats squeeze out the four-point win. Despite having nine points through the first three quarters, the Wildcats locked down defensively on Dallas’ leading scorer, Madi Horne, holding her to only a single bucket in the fourth. The Wildcats went 4-6 from the free-throw line, while Dallas failed to even attempt one during the fourth.
Entering the last month of the season, the Crusaders look to continue growing and improving as a team. When asked what the team needs to work on going into the final stretch, freshman guard Alexis Vera stated that consistency and defense were the two keys. “I would say consistently playing hard throughout the whole game, as well as communicating on defense,” Vera said. “We have definitely made steps towards this and need to keep following in that direction.”
The Crusaders have already shown throughout the season just how much they are improving as a team. The last time these two teams met, Johnson & Wales dominated Dallas in almost every aspect of the game. The Wildcats captured a 21-point victory on their own floor, again helped by a great second half. Instead of letting this bring them down, the Crusaders came back against JWU much stronger this showing. If the Crusaders can continue to improve the way that they have over the past few weeks, they will most certainly make waves within the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The Crusaders followed up this game by playing the Colorado College Tigers on Saturday, February 1. The Tigers won by a score of 70-52 and currently are placed to be the 4th seed in the conference tournament at the end of the month. The Crusaders next play at Trinity University on Friday, February 7, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 PM.