by Michael Rowse
Fort Lewis College started fast and held off the Western New Mexico University women’s basketball team Saturday night coming away with the 66-37 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory.
Fort Lewis College (FLC) opened with the first seven points two minutes in. Jelesia Gray, who had a big night for the Western New Mexico University (WNMU) Lady Mustangs, scored the first of her game-high 18 points at the 17:33 mark to put WNMU (2-12, 1-9 RMAC) on the board down five, 7-2.
FLC (7-6, 6-3 RMAC) responded, going on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes for the 18-2 advantage. The Skyhawks would jump the lead into the 20’s several minutes later and after Gray hit a pair from the line late in the first half to drop the deficit to 19, FLC closed the half with the last basket to take a 39-18 lead into the locker room.
The second half started with another FLC run, this one a 5-0 variety before Gray again tallied the first points of the half for the Lady Mustangs on a layup two minutes in. Sasha Montez and Desiree Young helped close the game strong, with Montez posting three points and a layup from Young to go on a 5-0 run to end the contest with FLC winning by 29.
Gray recorded 10 of her 18 points at the free throw line, as she went a perfect 10-for-10. Heather Hamilton added six points. Veronica Celaya again led the team in rebounds with nine. Katerina Garcia led FLC with 14 points, as they had three in double-figures.
Both teams struggled from the field, with FLC hitting at a 36.8 percent clip (25-68), while WNMU shot just 14.8 percent (8-54). FLC made seven more three-pointers (8-1), while the Lady Mustangs had a solid 20-8 advantage on made free throws.
WNMU will return home this coming week, as they will host Black Hills State on Friday night with game time set for 5:30 p.m. inside Drag’s Court.