ODESSA, TX – The Iowa Western women's basketball team opened their 2019-2020 season at the Odessa College Classic where they went 0-2 after losing to Odessa College by 9 points and Midland College (preseason ranked No. 14) by 16 points.
Head Coach Lindsey Vande Hoef knew that this classic would be a great test from the start. "I wanted to challenge our team right out of the gate to play some high caliber teams...I knew it would be a challenge and we have a great idea of where we are now."
The Reivers, who have 12 new players to the program this year, had a slow start offensively against Odessa Friday night, scoring only 11 points in the first quarter and 12 in the second. Sophomore transfer Jaiden Morris led the team with 10 first-half points, shooting 4-8 from the field. The Reivers entered halftime trailing the Wranglers 24-35.
The third quarter saw the same struggles on offense for the Reivers. The Wranglers held the lead for the entire game with the largest lead being 20 going into the fourth quarter.
Despite the deficit, the Reivers showed their toughness in the fourth quarter, playing collectively and scoring 21 points while holding the Wranglers to just 14. The Reivers caught fire from beyond the arc and shot 41.2% for the game while holding Odessa to only 33% from three. The Reivers also held the Wranglers scoreless for the last 2 minutes of the game. Freshman Bella Sparaco held a strong inside presence for the Reivers grabbing 8 boards, dishing 2 assists, and shooting 2-3 from the field. Sophomore transfer Nyah Morris-Nelson debuted in her career with the Reivers with 10 points. Sophomore Sommer Blakemore also chipped in 10 points and 4 steals.
Despite the fourth-quarter comeback, the Reivers fell short losing 53-62.
The Reivers had to bounce back quickly on Saturday as they faced No. 14 ranked Midland College just 16 hours after playing Odessa. The Reivers saw similar struggles on the offensive end as they scored just 14 first-half points. Scoring woes continued for the Reivers as they ended the third quarter trailing Midland by 31 points.
What seemed like the start of a long uphill battle quickly changed when Jaiden Morris and Sommer Blakemore took over the game offensively. A spark after an out of bounds bucket and back-to-back stops on defense helped propel the Reivers in the right direction. Morris shot 6-8 in the second half and 3-4 from three while Blakemore shot 5-9 from the field and 4-7 from three. The Reivers continued to chip away in the fourth quarter but Midland was dominant in the post, scoring 26 points in the paint to the Reivers' 10. The Reivers held all of the momentum in the fourth quarter, however, holding Midland to 18 points and putting up an astonishing 33 points. The comeback, however, was too late, as the Reivers came short losing 55-71.
"I am excited about the pieces we have this year and the grit we showed during both games." Said Head Coach Lindsey Vande Hoef. "This team is capable of big things, and we are excited to get back to practice and prepare for next weekend."
The Reivers are back in action on November 8th and 9th at the Lake Region State Classic where they will face Lake Region State College and Dakota College.