Updated Fri, Jan 31, 2014 10:51 am
Calling it a tale of two halves simply would not do it justice. It felt more like two separate games. However you want to classify it, the clash between the Rio Grande RedStorm women’s basketball team and the No. 6 Georgetown College Tigers proved to be a thriller. A thriller in which the RedStorm would come out on the losing end as they fell to Georgetown, 78-73.
With three minutes left in the first half the score read 37-18. And by just glancing at the court, it was apparent which team was doubling up the other. Rio Grande’s bench was the most involved it had been all season, while the RedStorm’s tenacity on the defensive end brought forth a resounding buzz to their home fans in Newt Oliver Arena. Halftime came and everything was going Rio’s way. The RedStorm were leading 48-27, and dominating. The defense that has been pushed to the brink all season held an efficient Georgetown offense to just two points in the paint. The Tigers were also shooting just 35 percent from the field. This was compared to Rio’s 64.5 percent shooting in the first half.
The RedStorm were getting heavy production from an unlikely source. Sophomore forward Ciara Herring, who had been averaging just nine minutes and 3.3 points on the year, posted nine points and three rebounds in the first half. Junior guard Brianna Thomas, as usual, was pacing the RedStorm attack with 12 points.
This all changed in the second half. Georgetown began the half on a 6-0 run, and continued to force the issue from there. The two teams traded buckets for the first ten minutes of the half. Tigers guard Kourtney Tyra was keeping Georgetown in the game, connecting on numerous outside shots. With 10:30 remaining in the game Rio Grande led, 61-47.
As the half progressed, Georgetown’s 2-3 zone continued to give Rio Grande trouble. Meanwhile, Tyra and senior guard Andrea Howard were catching fire on the other end. The RedStorm began rushing shots and Georgetown made its push. With 6:30 left to play, the score was 66-56 in favor of Rio Grande. The RedStorm were suddenly not able to find the bottom of the net, and found themselves deadlocked at 66 with three minutes remaining in the game.
With the game on the line, Georgetown looked to the hot-hand of its leader, Kourtney Tyra. The senior connected on a three from the top of the key with 2:37 remaining, giving Georgetown its first lead since it was ahead 3-2 in the first minutes of the contest.
Rio Grande finally ended its scoring drought with 1:39 remaining, cutting the Georgetown lead to 71-68. A three pointer by freshman guard Sharday Baines a minute later put the score at 74-71. Brianna Thomas then stole the inbounds pass and broke away for a layup, cutting the deficit to one.
On the ensuing play, Rio Grande trapped Georgetown’s Tyra in the corner. The senior took a big hop step, and the Rio bench exploded looking for a travel call. Instead, a foul was called on Baines. Tyra connected on her free throws and the Tigers went on to win a wild one 78-73, outscoring Rio Grande 51-25 in the second half.
Tyra finished with a game-high 27 points for Georgetown, 15 of which came from beyond the arc. Howard and junior forward Devanny King both finished with 16 points. King also led the team in rebounds with five.
For Rio Grande, Thomas finished with a team-high 19 points. She had four assists, but seven turnovers as well. Herring tallied 12 points along with a team-high five rebounds. Sophomore forward Sarah Bonar finished with 12 points
The RedStorm, who had their losing streak extended to a season-long four games, will look to get back into the win column when they host the No. 21 Cumberlands Patriots on Saturday.