COLUMBIA — Let's not fool each other here.
This was how it was supposed to be. Columbia College beat Harris-Stowe 98-53.
Columbia College vs. William Woods
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday
"We kind of thought of this one as a practice game we had to win before William Woods on Saturday," said forward Rachel Oswald, who, along with forward Veronica Smith and guards Whitney Widaman and Whitney Davis, was honored during Senior Night for the Cougars' final home game Thursday night at The Arena of Southwell Complex.
"Practice" must have been brutal — at least in the beginning.
The Hornets (2-24) hit nearly 50 percent from the field to hang with the Cougars in the first half and were only down 42-35 at halftime. This did not make coach Mike Davis happy.
"He didn't really say anything," Oswald said.
"He didn't say anything at all actually," sophomore forward Kirsti Wilkerson said. "He actually just kind of slammed the door and went out."
"He motivated us from within," Oswald added laughing.
Davis felt he didn't need to say much.
"Two stats: zero steals and 48 percent from the floor," he said. "That tells a lot of the story."
Oswald finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, and junior center Denise Rosario had 14 points and 14 rebounds to both earn double-doubles The Cougars outscored the Hornets 50-13 in the last 18 minutes of the game to finally get to the game the Cougars have been waiting for.
"We just starting running more and getting to the basket in the second half," Smith said. "We really tried to slow it down toward the end."
Smith led all scorers with 23 points, adding 10 rebounds for her double-double, and Wilkerson went for 21 points and four rebounds. In all, the Cougars outrebounded the Hornets 59-26.
"It was easy to know what we should do," Davis said. "Look for Denise, attack the glass, and if she makes the shot, great, if not, get back and play defense. It's simple basketball. Us coaches sometimes try to complicate things, but it's pretty simple.
"These girls have such a high basketball IQ. It makes them fun to coach."
The Cougars will need their wits if they're going to beat William Woods, who beat Missouri Baptist 78-68 to stay in contention for a share of the American Midwest Conference title. Not only does the winner take home hardware (all of it in Columbia's case), but it is most likely that the winner will become the host for the conference tournament.
The Cougars are getting greedy.
"We want the title to ourselves," Oswald said. "We just need to play like we have all year."
"You know how we played in the first half?" she said. "We can't do that."