Star freshman Vivian Gray and the Fort Lewis College Skyhawks flew past the New Mexico Highlands Cowgirls Friday night, 65-51.
FLC led 18-13 after one quarter of play. NMHU was able to hold the normally hot shooting FLC team to just 46.7% from the field in the quarter.
However, by halftime, the lead had jumped up to 14-points, 38-24, and the game was all but put away.
The game ended up with a 14-point difference as well, 65-51, but the final score does not tell the whole story in this case. FLC was off all game shooting the basketball, finishing the game with a mediocre 41.3% field goal percentage.
Gray started slow in this game but finished very strong as she finished with 19 points on 8-13 shooting and two long three-pointers.
Star senior guard Astrea Reed had a bad shooting night as she only finished with eight points on 4-13 shooting and going 0-4 from behind the arc. Reed won the doughnut bobbing contest in Durango’s annual Snowdown celebration on Thursday, but Flores didn’t think that affected her.
“You’ve got to let them have fun.” Flores said “There are worse things in the world she could have been doing.”
“Tonight was just, do what you had to do to win the game, move on, and prepare for tomorrow,” Flores said.
Gray played well, but the player of the game was redshirt-freshman forward Jordan Carter. She came off the bench and scored 10 points in the first half, going 5-5 from the field, and really provided the spark that this FLC team needed to get past a scrappy Highlands team.
“She was big tonight,” Flores said. “She gave us a lift. We were stagnant and kind of just not really too crisp and she did a great job and came in and was 5-5 at halftime. She came in and gave us a really good boost and that is awesome, especially as a freshman, to come in and do that.”
Highlands loses a lot of games because they do not have the numbers to keep up with teams as deep as FLC. Highlands only has nine players on the roster, so the talent level varies greatly. FLC played 13 players during the win on Friday. This enables head coach Jason Flores to rest his key players and keep them fresh, yet keep the game well in hand when he has his second unit out on the floor.
The win puts FLC in soul possession of second place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference at 18-4 (12-4). FLC remains two games behind the RMAC’s first place team, Colorado State- Pueblo.
These two juggernauts will face off Saturday night in Durango at 5:30 p.m. in a battle for RMAC supremacy.
“Everyone is going to have to be better than what we were tonight,” Flores said. “It’s going to be a good game. We are two really good teams and it’s going to be toe-to-toe. I would be shocked if it went one way or the other in a big direction. I just think it’s going to be tight all the way through.”
“We are going to need at least four players in double digits,” Flores said. “ At least. I think we Astrea and Viv, knock on would, will be there but we are going to need big contributions from Kayla. I think Alyssa is going to have to come in and give us double digits with the way that they play defense.”
FLC lost their first matchup with Pueblo in their first RMAC game of the season back on December 1, 2017, 63-48.