Tigers unable to turn the page
It’s a rerun Marshalltown Community College women’s basketball coach Allison Lacey is tired of watching.
Yet week after week, the Tigers’ coach is left viewing the same episode.
And in search of changing things after another incomplete effort, Lacey is still looking for the right buttons to push.
Undone by another late-game lapse, MCC was left with a 59-50 setback to Iowa Lakes in ICCAC Division II play at the Student Activity Center Wednesday.
After Lauran Hansen’s 3-pointer equaled the Tigers’ largest lead of the game at 36-30 with 11:54 to play, the Lakers (7-13, 3-4) rattled off three straight baskets and outscored MCC 29-14 the rest of the way to snap their two-game slide.
“We let them do the same thing every time – go right, shoot it and we didn’t box out,” Lacey said of her team’s late defensive struggles.
“We’re good for 35 minutes again and then we lose our mind in the last five minutes. We go away from what we did the whole game.”
The Tigers held the Lakers to just 28 percent (8-of-29) from the field in the first half, before Iowa Lakes nearly doubled their efficiency in the second stanza at 53 percent (16-of-30). The Tigers had a similar slow start offensively making just 9-of-31 (29 percent) of their shots in the opening 20 minutes and finishing at 35 percent (20-of-58) for the game.
Iowa Lakes keyed off MCC’s 20 turnovers for some baskets in transition as a jumper from Leah Courtney gave the visitors a lead they would never relinquish at 43-41 with 6:35 to play. Mady Van Metre preceded the basket with her third trey of the game to knot the score before the Tigers turned the ball over on their next four possessions.
Courtney, who scored 18 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, hit another jumper and stole the ball near midcourt for a layup. Van Metre buried one more triple to bring the Tigers within 45-44, but the Lakers closed on a 14-6 spurt.
Myangel Johnson scored six straight to stretch the gap to 53-44 with 2:16 left and the Tigers (5-11, 0-4) couldn’t draw closer than five the rest of the way.
While the Lakers had an advantage in speed and athleticism, the Tigers limited them to just 19 first-half points to lead by four at intermission.
“They’re definitely quick and more athletic than we are,” Lacey said.
“That’s why we sat off them the whole time, but in the second half we got away from thatWe helped a lot better (on defense) in the first half and then we kind of went away from it in the second.”
Along with her 21 points, Courtney grabbed five rebounds and Sunday Duop added 13 points and seven boards. Shabreka Edwards added nine points as the Lakers – the most turnover-prone team in the league at 25.6 per game – gave up the ball on just 14 possessions.
Jumping to a 9-3 lead out of the gates, the Tigers led nearly the entire first half as Latrice McMullen established herself inside with two quick buckets and six of MCC’s first 11 points. McMullen was held scoreless the rest of the way and the Lakers hung around despite their cold start before delivering another frustrating finish for the Tigers.
“It’s been the same game,” MCC guard Ashley Salgado said.
“We’ve been missing layups, turning it over uncontested and missing free throws.”
“We know we can work through this because we’re better than half of the teams we’ve lost to. We need to keep building on our attitudes, improve our defense and then our offense will come,” Salgado said.
While tired legs are likely to set in for any team that relies on a seven-player rotation, the Tigers believe it extends beyond the physical.
“I think it’s not only physical fatigue, but we get mentally fatigued,” Van Metre said.
“Other teams just keep pushing and we’re not able to push back.”
The Tigers’ heavy legs also showed up in their lack of second half free throw opportunities. MCC attempted just three in the final 20 minutes and finished 5-of-11 for the game, while the Lakers made 9-of-14 and connected on 7-of-9 after the break.
“We only play seven players most of the time so of course they’re tired,” said Lacey, who felt her best matchup with the Lakers was the rotation she used. The Tigers were also down a player with Shana Lee suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.
“Our mental toughness has been a question from the start,” Lacey said.
“When things go bad, we kind of drop our heads and let it disrupt it us. Mental toughness is something we always go over – we still have yet to figure it out.”
While the frustrations have piled up, the Tigers sense the breakthrough they’re seeking is near.
“With a loss you’re always disappointed, but I think we have some hope underneath that,” said Van Metre, who led the Tigers with 13 points and hit 4-of-7 from behind the arc.
“We are getting closer to teams. At the beginning we were just not really competing. Now each game we’re getting a lot closer.”
Mackenzie Gott added 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, while Salgado and Shantal Tobler each tallied eight points. Tobler dished out five assists and Salgado had three steals.
The Tigers continue their three-game homestand against Southeastern, which received votes in the latest NJCAA National Poll, Saturday at 5 p.m.
“We’ve just got to finish off these games,” Salgado said.
“We know we can do it, it’s just a matter of doing it.”
Carla Barrera entered with the most 3-pointers made (33) in ICCAC Division II and eighth in accuracy (33.7 percent), but missed both of her attempts Wednesday. The Lakers’ second-leading scorer at 10.4 points a game, Barrera was held scoreless and shot 0-of-3 from the field. … The Tigers are 5-0 when limiting opponents to 57 points or less.