More times than not, as the point guard goes, so goes the team. Such was the case Monday night at the Arena of Southwell Complex.
Tiffany Foote led the Columbia College women’s basketball team to a dominating 78-53 win against Lyon College in a game that was equal parts sloppy and composed.
Foote, the Cougars point guard, piloted a trapping defense that gave the Pipers fits on the offensive end. Lyon finished with 20 turnovers while shooting only 16-for-54 from the field.
“We try to pick up the intensity, trap in the corner a lot, hoping to get hands on balls and get in the passing lanes and get in transition,” said Foote, who finished with 14 points, six assists and four steals. “We always try to come out intense and with good pressure.”
While Lyon fired blanks, Columbia College, No. 13 in the NAIA, relied on its two-headed offensive threat in the post. Forward Tilly Payne had eight of her 12 points and four of her nine rebounds in a four-minute span in the first half. Not to be outdone, fellow forward Charliss Ridley came through with 15 of her 21 points in the second half.
“Coach wanted me to bring some energy to the game, so I just came out really aggressive,” Payne said. “I just had to go out there and score.”
Said coach Mike Davis: “She really changed the game for us in that first half.”
Davis said he thought his team’s ball handling created the opportunities for Ridley after the half.
“Charliss will finish any shot when she gets it in the right spot, and in the second half she really did,” Davis said.
The Cougars (7-2) who held Lyon (4-3) to only four points through the first 11 minutes, led by as many as 17 in the first half. But 14 first-half fouls and 14 first-half turnovers allowed the Pipers to stay within reach with a halftime score of 31-21.
Unfortunately for Foote, the point guard is responsible for taking care of the basketball.
“Seeing how I handle the ball so much, it would be a good idea for me not to turn it over so much,” Foote said of her six turnovers. “But it’s something all our team’s been working on.”
It showed in the second half. Columbia College committed only eight turnovers after the break while forcing 11 of the Pipers 20 turnovers in the second 20 minutes.
The Cougars capitalized, converting 27 points off of turnovers.
“I thought we kind of wore them down,” Davis said.
“You know I thought in the second half we cut our turnovers down a little bit, and all of a sudden we got a hand on the ball, somebody got to it, created a break for us and we finished the play.”
Lyon was within nine points with eight minutes to play, but a 22-6 spurt put the game away for good.