Matador women fall flat against Lake Region State
Show up and win.
That's what Arizona Western women's basketball coach Patrick Cunningham said was evidently his team's strategy Friday night against Lake Region State.
And with that attitude, he said he wasn't surprised with the end result.
The Royals pulled away late from the Matadors, scoring 13 of the last 18 points in a 50-40 win at The House on the first night of the 8th Annual Wells Fargo Classic.
“We expected to just show up and win the game,” Cunningham said. “We just weren't prepared mentally. We gave very poor effort. We got beat by a team that gave good effort and was ready to play and had energy. They came here and just beat us. They were a better team than we were tonight.”
The game was competitive early, with the Royals (6-0) grabbing leads of five and seven before carrying a 26-22 lead into halftime. The biggest lead for the Matadors (6-2) came at 17-9, but after they surrendered that lead they would not lead again.
AWC tied the game at 28-28 and 30-30, but the already iffy shooting dried up.
“If the ball isn't going in, we just kind of hang our heads and refuse to look forward to the next opportunity,” Cunningham said. “And it was very contagious.”
The Matadors shot 27 percent from the floor in the game and 23 percent in the first half. Samantha Wallace was the only player in double figures for either team, scoring 14, and her 6 of 11 shooting made her the only Matador to shoot better than 50 percent.
Lake Region opened up a 43-35 lead, but the Matadors cut the lead to 43-39 with 3:14 left with a 4-0 run. The Royals switched back to a full-court press, forcing turnovers on consecutive Matador possessions.
“They are just like us — they are continually there,” Cunningham said. “You have to solve it before you go to do anything. And it wore us down mentally. We just weren't ready. We thought we'd win by showing up. It didn't happen for us and hopefully we'll learn from it.”
AWC also missed all 11 3-point shots and was 10 for 20 from the free-throw line. The Matadors did finish with a 41-33 rebounding edge, but both teams turned the ball over 20 times. Wallace had 12 rebounds and Emilie Maunandibu 11.
Lake Region took a 7-2 lead — it took AWC 5:13 to score its first points — but the Matadors scored 15 of the next 17 for its biggest lead at the 8:20 mark. The went through another 5-plus minute scoring drought late in the first half.
Jordyn Kirk led the Royals with eight points, while Emma Weinreich had seven points and seven rebounds for the North Dakota school.