Something happened inside Columbia College’s Arena at Southwell Complex on Thursday night that hasn’t occurred since Feb. 21, 2006. The women’s basketball team lost a game.
The No. 19 Cougars aggressive style was not enough to fight off American Midwest Conference opponent McKendree College, which defeated the Cougars 81-74and snapped Columbia College’s 12-game home winning streak.
“We fought our composure,” Cougars coach Mike Davis said.
Davis could often be seen standing on the sidelines, slowly motioning his hands up and down in front of his chest, palms towards his team, calmly pleading with his players to slow down and stay under control.
“We fought with ourselves most of the night,” Davis said.
The Cougars were forced to play without their star, Amber Lewellen, for nearly a half because of foul trouble. She fouled out with 5:13 left in the game.
“They (the referees) weren’t giving us anything,” a frustrated Lewellen said afterwards.
She wasn’t the only Cougar that struggled with fouls. Freshmen guards Whitney Davis and Whitney Widaman, along with senior Danielle Riekeberg, also fouled out. The Cougars were called for 33 fouls compared to the Bearcats’ 22. McKendree also enjoyed an advantage at the free-throw line, shooting 46 free throws to Columbia’s 25.
Mike Davis didn’t blame his Lewellen-less offense on officiating after the game, but when Widaman fouled out late in the second half, Davis clearly appeared frustrated by the referees.
One of the bright spots of the night was LeAnn Fossum. The senior forward carried the offensive load, scoring 22 points. Early in the first half, Fossum became the Cougars’ leading career rebounder. She finished the night with 14 rebounds and a career total of 722 boards.
“We are just going to refocus tomorrow,” Whitney Davis said.
The Cougars’ next game will be at 5 p.m. Saturday at Missouri Baptist University.