SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – The Eastern Wyoming College women’s basketball team was held scoreless over the final two of Monday’s matchup with Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.
Ultimately, the Lady Lancers fell 76-69 to the No. 9-ranked Lady Cougars.
EWC freshman Ane Esnal Aguirre scored what proved to be the final points of the night with two minutes left, drawing the Lady Lancers back within three, 72-69, but it was the host Cougars who scored the final four points of the game to secure the victory.
“You have to credit (WNCC’s) defense and size,” EWC coach Tom Andersen said. “They are a very good team. It’s a tough one to lose, but at the end of the day, we competed hard. It was a good game.”
Early in the game, the two teams traded buckets, but a 13-0 run late in the first quarter, pushed the Eastern Wyoming lead to as many as nine.
Western Nebraska regained the lead midway through the second quarter and held it through halftime.
Down 40-35 at the break, EWC sophomore Paula Martinez-Sanz took over the game, scoring the first 10 points of the half for the Lady Lancers.
In the end, Sanz scored 16 of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter, giving EWC a 57-54 advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.
“She got the hot hand for a little bit,” Andersen said. “She made a few from the inside and hit a couple 3s. It was big. It got us back in the lead. She a good player, and she makes the rest of our players better.”
The Lady Lancers held on to the lead until the four-minute mark when Western Nebraska regained the lead at 67-65 for the final lead change of the night.
Over the course of the contest, the teams found themselves tied 12 times and traded the lead 10 times.
“I thought our kids battled hard. The game went back-and-forth, and unfortunately, they had the lead at the end. They are a very good team and made plays when they had to,” Andersen said. “We had several careless turnovers throughout the game, and they came back to haunt us.”
Freshmen Montse Gutierrez-Ibanez added 17 points for the Lady Lancers, while Emilia Axelsson tossed in 15.
“We are getting better. We have the protentional to be pretty good at the end of the year,” Andersen said. “Like I told the kids, this is the team we’ll have to beat at the end of the year if you want to do something special. We’ll keep working towards it.”
The Lady Lancers (7-6) return to action on Monday, Jan. 6 in Sterling, Colo., against Northeastern Junior College (5-6). Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.