Coaches’ homecoming spoiled as Rangers fall in semifinal round to UIW 72-53

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Business administration sophomore Daniella Aguirre shoots over two University of the Incarnate Word defenders April 14 at UIW. Aguirre scored 8 points in the game. Brianna Rodrigue

Starting guard injures knee in the fourth quarter and awaits medical test results.

By Dillon Holloway

The Rangers’ postseason run was cut short by the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals April 14 in the Wellness Gymnasium at UIW.

The Cardinals defeated the Rangers 72-53.

Rangers’ head coach Haley Capestany, a UIW alumna and former guard for the Cardinals NCAA Division 2 basketball team 2012-2013, returned to her alma mater with aspirations of leading this college’s basketball team to a Texas Collegiate Club Sports League title.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, the Cardinals had other ideas.

Capestany said the team got away from what made them successful in a previous round against Southwest Texas Junior College.

“They got away from what they needed to focus on,” she said.

“They had a lot of missed block-outs, (UIW) had a lot of offensive boards and were going straight to the hole.”

Capestany said nerves also played a part in the loss.

“They were all a little nervous before the game, and I said ‘just play your game, just play your game,’” she said.

Celeste Arriaga, kinesiology freshman and Ranger guard, led all scorers with 25 points on nine field goals, including one from beyond the arc, and 6-of-8 free throw shooting before she was forced to exit the game with a right knee injury late in the fourth quarter.

Women’s basketball coach Haley Capestany and criminal justice sophomore Jordan Foster help escort kinesiology freshman Celeste Arriaga off the court following a knee injury with a minute left in the fourth quarter April 14 at UIW. Arriaga scored 25 points in the semifinal playoff game. The Rangers lost 72-53. Brianna Rodrigue

The Rangers’ guard walked off the court limping and in visible pain, emerging postgame from the locker room with a large ice pack wrapped around her knee.

 Arriaga is awaiting test results, but doctors do not believe the injury to be serious, Capestany said.

Arriaga was also effective from the charity-stripe, making 6-of-8 free throw attempts.

Jordan Foster, criminal justice sophomore and Ranger guard, contributed 15 points to the scoreboard on six field goals and 3-of-4 free throw shooting.

Breanna Sifuentes, engineering sophomore and Ranger forward, was held in check by the stingy Cardinals interior defense, scoring just 2 points.

Sifuentes, who was a major factor in the Rangers’ previous win over the Southwest Texas Junior College Cowgirls, never got going in the paint and finished the game without a single trip to the free-throw line.

The Cardinal’s size in the post made the difference in limiting Sifuentes on the scoreboard, Capestany said.

“Southwest doesn’t have post players like UIW does,” she said. “They have really good post players, two or three, and they’re all strong.”

Capestany said Sifuentes has improved in all aspects of her play since last semester, and one game does not define her as a player.

“I’m not going to down the game that she had. We all have off games, but I think she was just dealing with a little bit of stronger post play,” she said.

Capestany said she praised the team after the game for fighting through adversity throughout the season and advancing as far as they did with an understaffed roster of six players.

“I just let them know, ‘I’m proud of y’all for staying around and working hard,’” she said. “You know … they … they just came up short.”

The Cardinals advanced to play Victoria College in the championship round, winning 73-60; and in the men’s championship final, Victoria College defeated the Northeast Lakeview Nighthawks 83-78 April 15 at UIW.


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