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Women’s College Basketball: No. 3 Lane hands No. 1 Umpqua first loss of season

March 1, 2018 GMT

EUGENE — Umpqua Community College women’s basketball coach Dave Stricklin summed up his No. 1-ranked team’s first loss of the season Wednesday night.

“They out-Umpqua’d us,” Stricklin surmised following an 86-79 setback to No. 3 Lane in a Northwest Athletic Conference Southern Region game in the Titans’ gym. “That’s what we’ve been doing to teams. There hasn’t been anybody all year who’s been able to attack us inside like that.”

The Riverhawks (27-1, 14-1 South) saw their 33-game league winning streak come to an end. The good news is Umpqua still holds a one-game lead over Lane (21-6, 13-2) in the Southern race, needing a victory over last-place Clark Saturday at home in the regular season finale to clinch its second straight outright league championship.

“I think this loss just proves our team is beatable,” said sophomore forward Bria Thames, who led the Riverhawks with 21 points and nine rebounds. “We’re going to have to go into practice and work on everything we did wrong tonight. We had way too many turnovers and our post defense wasn’t on par to what it should be.”

Indeed, the Titans worked over the Riverhawks inside. With Umpqua’s twin towers — 6-foot-4 Jordan Stotler and 6-3 Dajanay Powell in foul trouble — Lane got 53 points from its three posts.

Sarah Hall had a team-high 21 points, shooting 8 of 13 from the field and 5 of 5 from the free-throw line. Sierra Carrier added 17 points off the bench and Rachel Fielder chipped in 15 for the Titans.

“We had no answer inside for them at all,” Dave Stricklin said. “Everything in the paint is where they got us ... we couldn’t screen them out and keep them from scoring.”

Lane avenged a 78-73 loss to UCC in overtime in Winchester on Jan. 31. The Titans built their advantage to 14 in the third quarter Wednesday before the Riverhawks cut the deficit to two with 5:04 left in the fourth period, but this time Lane held on.

“Last time we had a (14-point) lead that was almost too much of a cushion and got us out of sync,” said Lane coach Greg Sheley. “Tonight, the fact they kept coming at us ... and we did a much better job of responding. The difference was we were able to get their bigs in foul situations to where they couldn’t be aggressive, and our kids continued to be aggressive.”

The Riverhawks shot a better percentage from the field (.478 to .437) and outrebounded the Titans (45-24), but committed 32 turnovers (20 in the first half) and allowed 14 offensive rebounds. Lane scored 36 points off UCC’s turnovers.

“It comes down to lack of focus, especially with rebounding,” Thames said. “We gave up more rebounds than we normally do, and it affected the game.”

Powell finished with 18 points — 10 coming in the first quarter — before fouling out with 7:15 remaining in the fourth period. Stotler had 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists before departing with 27.3 seconds to go.

Taylor Stricklin chipped in 18 points and eight rebounds for the Riverhawks.

Lane guard Amber Lease, who had 13 points, five assists and three steals, hit four free throws in the last 27 seconds to clinch the victory.

“I think this game probably does more for us and quite a bit for them as well,” said Sheley. “A couple of years ago we were undefeated and they came up here and gave us a loss, and we ended up going on (to the NWAC tournament) and winning it. If we can’t win it, maybe we’ll inspire them to win it.”

The long-range plan still doesn’t change for the Riverhawks, who are chasing their first NWAC crown since 2000.

“We’ll see how we respond to it,” Dave Stricklin said. “Sometimes when you’re 27-0 it’s easy to lose your edge. We’ll still win the Southern Region, so this doesn’t affect anything. What it does point out is there are good teams out there, and we have to play better or somebody can beat you.

“That’s what happened tonight, and it’s better now than in a week. If our girls didn’t think anybody could beat them, now they know differently. After our last loss (in 2017) we reeled off 27 straight wins. All we have to do is reel off five after this loss and we’re good to go.”

UMPQUA (79) — Bria Thames 8-12 5-6 21, Stotler 7-17 1-1 15, Stricklin 7-12 2-3 18, Grenfell 2-5 0-0 4, Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Parnell 0-4 1-2 1, Frieze 0-2 2-2 2, Eckert 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-2 0-0 0, Powell 8-11 2-2 18. Totals 32-67 13-16 79.

LANE (86) — Sarah Hall 8-13 5-5 21, Lease 4-6 4-4 13, Fielder 7-13 0-0 15, Still 2-6 1-2 5, Jones 0-3 0-0 0, Briggs 0-1 2-2 2, Carrillo 3-15 5-5 13, Carrier 7-14 3-6 17. Totals 31-71 20-24 86.

Umpqua;17;13;26;23;—;79

Lane;15;25;23;23;—;86

3-Point Goals — UCC 2-18 (Stricklin 2-4, Stotler 0-5, Thames 0-2, Grenfell 0-2, Jones 0-2, Parnell 0-1, Frieze 0-2), Lane 4-21 (Carrillo 2-13, Lease 1-2, Fielder 1-1, Still 0-4, Jones 0-1). Total Fouls — UCC 18, Lane 17. Fouled Out — Stotler, Powell. Rebounds — UCC 45 (Thames 9), Lane 24 (Still 5). Assists — UCC 16 (Stotler, Parnell 4), Lane 19 (Jones 7). Turnovers — UCC 32, Lane 14.