Women's Basketball: Turnovers plaque Lady Pioneers

Slippery fingers and ice-cold shooting doomed the Miles Community College women’s basketball team to a 55-48 loss to Gillette on Wednesday.

The Lady Pioneers committed 30 turnovers, including a stretch of six straight possessions in the first half, as the Pronghorns built an early lead that they would never relinquish.

“I believe every game is winnable, but not when you have 30 turnovers,” said Miles head coach Liz Lewis when asked if her squad let one slip away.

“We’ve got to learn to value our possessions,” Lewis said. “In this league, teams play great defense.”

The Pronghorns, who never trailed but never led by more than 14 points, converted the MCC turnovers into 18 points.

“We’ve lived off our defense all season long, and it was the same tonight,” Gillette head coach Will Rider said.

For awhile, it seemed like neither squad wanted a win.

Miles committed 30 turnovers; Gillette had 17. Miles shot just 35 percent (18-51) from the floor; Gillette was only a little better at 40 percent (25-63).

“Nobody  could score,” Lewis lamented.

“The basket seemed to get smaller and smaller as the night went on,” Rider noted.

In the end, Gillette’s Shy’Tyra Powell proved to be the difference, netting all 18 of her points in the second half. She added four steals and three assists.

Powell scored mostly on fast-break layups, often following Lady Pioneer turnovers.

“She had some great steals, and got a lot of transition baskets for us,” Rider said.

“Our goal was to keep her in front of us,” Lewis said of Powell. “Obviously we didn’t do a very good job.”

Gillette led by as many as eight points in the first quarter, but Miles scored seven of the first nine points in the second quarter to close the gap to 16-15.

But the Pioneers would get no closer, as Gillette led 24-20 at the half, and extended their lead to 10 points with an 8-0 run late in the third stanza.

Sophomore guard Tia Torio and freshman guard Jennifer Burnham led MCC on offense, meshing 11 points apiece.

Torio added four assists and four steals in more than 39 minutes of play.

Miles won the battle of the boards 39-35 behind eight rebounds from freshman forward Kyra Fleharty and seven from sophomore center Savannah Weidauer.

Weidauer added eight points on four-of-seven shooting.

Gillette improved to 12-6 overall and 4-1 in NJCAA Region 9. Miles slipped to 11-10 and 2-3.

Despite the loss, Lewis said she’s pleased with her team.

“The girls battled tonight. I’m very proud of them,” Lewis said. “We limited their runs and had a few of our own.”