The Storm wins a hard-fought battle.
article By Simson Garcia
photo by David Hallett
Women’s basketball on Wednesday prevailed in a hard-fought battle against the Mt. Hood Saints.
The Saints made their moves on the Storm’s home court. The Storm however, had the better moves and pulled out the win in the exciting crunch time moments, 70-61.
The last time these two stood toe-to-toe was back on January 14 in which the Storm reigned victorious 59-46.
With nearly identical records, both teams have floated near the bottom of their division.
With a playoff like atmosphere both teams played with the hearts of a champion.
A lot of back and forth action showed that both teams were well matched.
One look at the box score and the similarities are readily apparent. In 3 point totals, the Storm won the battle at 24-21.
In rebounds, the Saints barely edged the Storm 37-36.
What’s even more interesting is the strikingly similar numbers in offensive and defensive rebounds; 9-8 and 29-27 respectively.
Another key stat line was the defensive stops as the defensive plays from both teams were stellar showing 43-42 stops in favor of the Saints.
But statistics aren’t there without the effort shown by the athletes on the court.
Halfway through the first half, the teams were tied at 10 with several lead changes.
It would prove to be a ferocious race towards the finish line as neither team seemed to pull ahead and gain a significant advantage over the other.
Both teams struggled offensively and had to earn every offensive opportunity.
This Saints’ tough zone defense might have been part of the reason why the Storm couldn’t flow well within their offense in the first half.
Near the end of the half, the Saints capitalized on a couple of the Storm’s missed opportunities to take the lead in to the half.
The halftime score was 36-30.
In the second half the Saints switched to a man-to-man defense. Which was a positive sign for the Storm.
Jessica Mitchell would later prove to be a key to victory, drawing a lot of attention from the Saints defenders. She was most productive in the second half, finishing with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting and 5-of-8 from the free throw line.
“The last 10 minutes in the second half we found a good flow and slowed the tempo down. From that, I thought the difference was that our offense found more fluidity than in the first half” said Storm Coach Kevin McCarrell.
When the openings inside weren’t there, they found ways especially down the stretch. Guard Jessica Sexson tied the game at 46-46 with a wing 3 pointer.
Guard Jasmine Parra with an amazing highlight worthy behind-the-shoulder pass setting Mitchell to score the Storm pulled ahead 61-52.
With a little over 4 minutes to play the Saints pulled their play-maker Marley Yates out of the game because of foul trouble.
Yates had been a problem for the Storm, especially during crunch time when the Saints looked for her on the inside on almost every possession, and she was able to cash in repeatedly.
Yates only scored 20 as Mitchell and the Storm defense was able to contain her just enough.
“Our effort level was double what it was in first half and we guarded their players better,” said Storm Coach McCarrell.
Towards the end, the Storm were able to make enough plays to secure a great win.
Winning gets the Storm to 4-16 overall and 2-5 in the division and with a boost of confidence after losing 5 straight.
The boost will be needed for their next opponent the Umpqua Riverhawks who come into town with an overall record 21-2 and an undefeated division record of 8-0.
Tip-off time for that game will be at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18 at Clackamas Community College, Oregon City.