Rio’s Struggles Continue At Shawnee State

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Beating any team twice in one season is difficult; beating a rival twice in one season is even more so. The Rio Grande RedStorm women’s basketball team found that out Saturday. With a chance to win on the home court of rival Shawnee State and sweep the Bears for the first time in school history, Rio Grande fell by a score of 76-70.

A slow start and lackluster first half dug the RedStorm (15-9, 4-8 MSC) into a hole that they could not get out of. Shawnee State (12-11, 5-7 MSC) outrebounded Rio Grande 29-14 in the first half, and got RedStorm forwards Alexis Payne and Brooke Marcum into foul trouble early. The Bears had the upper hand inside throughout the entire first half.

“We just didn’t bring it at all in the first half,” assistant coach Brandon Bias said. “We got down 10, which isn’t a whole lot, but we just weren’t as into the game as we should have been and we couldn’t quite dig ourselves out in the second half.”

With both teams shooting similar percentages from the field, rebounding was ultimately the deciding factor. Shawnee State finished the game with a 49-36 rebounding advantage. The Bears also had six more offensive rebounds than the RedStorm.

“It was just an overall bad day for us on the glass and boxing out,” Bias said. “We have a sign in our locker room that says ‘Box Out Rebound,’ and that’s the last thing the players see when they walk out. It’s definitely something we try to hang our hat on.”

Rio Grande outscored Shawnee state in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome the 39-29 halftime deficit.

Senior guard Priscila Santos, who did not play in the teams’ first matchup, proved to be an added boost for the Bears. She scored 13 points and added four rebounds.

But it was senior guard Alannah Sheets who again spearheaded the Shawnee offense. She finished with a team-high 19 points and three assists. Senior forward Diane Abbady was a force inside for the Bears. She also tallied 19 points and led the team with 12 rebounds.

For Rio Grande, it was junior forward Sarah Bonar who led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Brianna Thomas added 15 points and seven assists.

The RedStorm have another big game on Feb. 13, when they travel to No. 5 Campbellsville University to take on the Tigers. It will serve as another chance for Rio Grande to move up in conference standings as the postseason tournament approaches.