By Jeff Reese
In toasting the Lackland Warhawks Feb. 27 73-43, the Lady Rangers once again proved their ability to win games by any means necessary and with big margins.
While the Lady Rangers scored only 13 points through the first 13 minutes of the game, they stayed ahead mostly thanks to their rebounding advantage on both sides of the court and a defense that only allowed 10 points at that time.
Biology sophomore Ashiely Latimore said the team’s rebounding edge is a necessary extra effort on the road to winning.
“Rebounds will always be a big part of the game; without them, you can’t win at all, point blank,” Latimore, who totaled 9 points, said. “If you don’t, they’re going to have an advantage over you. So whether it’s on offense or defense, you need to put forth the effort.”
Latimore also noted how her team was able to adjust when things did not initially go as intended.
“We had played them before, and we started off kind of rocky and our plan was start off stronger, but we started off slow,” Latimore said. “But we’re a second half-team, and we went up by about 30 points and we controlled the game by then.”
Biology sophomore Casey Garcia, who recorded 13 points, went to the left side for a 3-pointer, one of her three for the night.
After nailing the shot from downtown, Garcia immediately finished one of the team’s trademark fast breaks.
While Latimore fought for a loose ball between the free-throw line and the 3-point arc, she heaved a desperation fling that beat the halftime buzzer and gave her team a 32-16 lead.
The Lady Rangers followed their trend of scoring after intermission by scoring the first 22 points of the second half over a span of nearly eight minutes.
Education sophomore Marilyn Elder, who led the team in first-half scoring with 10 of her 15 points, said the team put together the run largely because of defensive adjustments.
“(Coach Will Dykes) got to telling us that our defense wasn’t that good and that we needed to start running,” Elder said. “We put them on the full-court press and we started getting steals and making layups.”
“This is not an easy team to beat, but we beat them on the defensive end by talking to each other,” Elder said.
Agreeing with Elder, Dykes said, “If you don’t have communication in your team, there’s no way you’re going to prosper.”
Kinesiology sophomore Layla Fernandez led the second-half charge with 15 points and a total of 21 points for the game.
The lead hit its maximum at 62-40 with 11 minutes remaining. Business sophomore Lindsay Berlanga scored 5 points while also going for 10 rebounds.
The win marked the ninth straight victory for the Lady Rangers.
The Lady Rangers’ last five victories have come by an average of more than 21 points, including three wins by 25 or more points.
While the Lady Rangers had wrapped up the triumph with one minute remaining, Garcia then made a heads-up play that summarized the night for both teams.
When Lackland rolled an inbound pass down the court, in an effort to keep the clock from running as long as possible, Garcia recovered the lazy pass for an easy deuce that raised an uproar from the calm crowd.
In spite of such plays and the domination on offense and defense, Elder noted that her team cannot stay satisfied.
“In practice, we help each other learn and grow and do new things,” Elder said. “That’s how we keep getting better as opposed to staying at the same level.”