By Jeff Reese
The Lady Rangers basketball team vastly improved its scoring defense in a 57-47 triumph over Palo Alto College Jan. 30.
Coming off an 83-80 win at Southwest Texas Junior College Jan. 23, they allowed 23 fewer points.
The Rangers increased their winning streak to five games, in large part because of six 3-point field goals in the first half.
Kinesiology sophomore Layla Fernandez, who hit three of the long balls and totaled a team high of 18 points, cited confidence as a key to the 3-point barrage.
“It all comes down to practice; we have to have confidence to be able to take those shots,” Fernandez said.
A 17-5 run late in the first half helped turn a 20-19 nail-biter into a 37-24 halftime lead.
Fernandez said the spurt was helped by a greater defensive effort.
“It all comes down to defense. Sometimes we go in and out in playing defense, and we came through at that time,” Fernandez said.
Biology sophomore Casey Garcia agreed. “We picked up on defense and were able to get a lot of steals,” she said.
Garcia racked up 15 points and iced the win with two late free throws that yielded an 11-point margin.
Palo Alto posed a threat during the second half as part of a 14-5 run; 8 of the points were unanswered.
The pressure forced the Rangers to keep their cool.
“We felt frustration. At times like that, we get madder at each other, and we had to calm down,” Fernandez said.
Ashiely Latimore scored 8 points, while Tunnette Callis and Lindsey Berlanga contributed with 6 and 5 points, respectively.
Berlanga scored all of her 5 points in the second half.
Starting with a Feb. 13 meeting at Palo Alto against Northwest Vista College, the team looks to improve its unity and stick with a defensive foundation.
“We need to keep playing together and playing defense. Our offense doesn’t always come through for us; it all comes down to discipline,” Fernandez said.