Cold shooting night haunts Grenadiers versus Cougars

Offensive struggles against IU Kokomo prove costly to RSC West hopes


Brandon Miniard

Head Coach Robin Farris tries to rally his troops during the third quarter of the Grenadiers’ 70-51 loss against IU Kokomo on Feb. 18.

Brandon Miniard, Sports Editor

The IUS Women’s basketball team came into last Tuesday’s rematch against River States Conference rival IU Kokomo feeling confident in the midst of a five-game winning streak, as well as in the hunt for the top seed in next week’s RSC Tournament. Along with that, the Grenadiers defeated the Cougars 83-64 in Kokomo earlier this year.

The script for the rematch flipped however, as the Grenadiers ended up shooting a frigid 26.2 percent from the field. The Cougars meanwhile shot an even 50 percent en route to a dominating 70-51 victory at the Activities Building.

“We want to hold teams to under forty percent, but we couldn’t score or finish when we got the ball,” Head Coach Robin Farris said. “We couldn’t finish when we drove to the basket, [Kokomo’s] switching defense and quickness and physicality made it hard.”

The contest began with both teams evenly matched as the Grenadiers answered the Cougars’ superior interior play with 3-pointers courtesy of Madi Woods, Ariana Sandefur, and Emmy Ralph. After Sandefur’s trey, the Grenadier offense began to freeze up, allowing five straight points at the end of the period and handing the Cougars a 20-13 lead.

The Cougar offense kept the pace going in the second period, spending the entirety of it on a 14-5 run — a stark contrast to the Grenadiers, who made only three baskets in 18 attempts in the frame, an ice-cold 16.7 percent. At the buzzer, the Grenadiers went into the locker down 34-20, searching for a way to unlock their offense.

“When you score fifty-one points, you’re not going to win too many games,” Farris said. “We didn’t get any fast break opportunities against a good half-court defensive team and we let them score too easily.”

The Grenadiers never found the answer to their struggling offense in the second half, spending the entirety of the last two quarters trying to spark a run, only for their efforts to bear no fruit. Sandefur led the Grenadiers with 12 points, going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Ralph chipped in 10 points, along with three steals.

The Cougars were led by Ally Davis’ 19 points and seven rebounds. Vanessa Mullins chipped in with 14 points, while Tia Chambers netted 13 points and dominated the backboard with 19 rebounds, seven of which were offensive boards.

“We just need to get our heads back into the game because we walked into this game thinking we were going to win and it didn’t happen,” Sandefur said. “We’re gonna get back to practice, work hard, see how we play and come ready to play on Wednesday.”

With the loss, the Grenadiers drop to 9-7 in RSC. Despite this, they won the RSC West due to a complicated tiebreaker situation, which had to be resolved with a game on Sunday, Feb. 23, between Asbury and Carlow. The Eagles won that game 80-71, giving the Grenadiers the division and the No. 1 seed in the west.

The Grenadiers finish the regular season 18-11 overall, and will have home-court advantage for the first two rounds of the RSC Tournament, which starts Wednesday Feb. 26. Their first round opponent is IU East (10-20, 8-8 RSC). Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.