COLUMBIA — After building an 11-point lead in the first half, the Columbia College women’s basketball team went cold offensively in the second half. McKendree came back for a 67-61 win Tuesday night at the Southwell Complex.
Columbia College did not score for the first four minutes of the second half, allowing McKendree to close the gap to just three. Columbia College coach Mike Davis said his players panicked when McKendree made the run.
“There’s a mentality that when you get someone down, you put your foot on them, and we definitely didn’t have that mentality the second half,” Davis said. “We didn’t have the poise and confidence to say, ‘Hey let’s go finish this baby off.”
Columbia College was out-scored 23-4 from the free throw line, but the Cougars blamed themselves, not the officials, for the loss.
“I know I was getting nailed underneath, but you can’t blame the officials,” sophomore forward Rachel Oswald said. “We lost it ourselves.”
The difference between the two halves was drastic for the Cougars.
Against McKendree’s zone defense in the first half, Columbia College made 6 three point baskets and scored 40 points.
In the second half McKendree switched to a man-to-man defense and the Cougars’ offense never responded.
Columbia College shot just 27 percent from the floor in the second half and turned the ball over 10 times. The Cougars scored just 21 points in the half.
“They did pressure us a lot, but I think we got a little lackadaisical with our passes,” sophomore guard Whitney Widaman said. “If we slow it down, it would have been a lot easier.”
Defensively, the Cougars held McKendree to just 34 percent shooting for the game, but gave up 18 second-chance points on 22 offensive rebounds.
“The defense was excellent, it was the rebounding.” Davis said. “I was really disappointed in us for not finishing the ball game, because we had done a lot of things we wanted to but you had to add that next element, which was the rebounding.”
Six-foot-1 Emily Best and 6-foot-2 Suzy Gerler each recorded double-doubles for McKendree.
Whitney Davis lead the Cougars with 14 points.
After losing the lead for good with about 8 minutes left in the game, Columbia College had a couple of opportunities to regain control but could not capitalize.