Everything the Rifle Lady Bears did right, the Steamboat Springs Lady Sailors did wrong.
The Bears played like pros, patiently waiting for open shots, then squaring up to the basket to sink jump shot after jump shot. The offensive onslaught was too much for Steamboat, and Rifle won 51-33.
Rifle coach Rick Schmitz said he made adjustments to his offense to play against the Sailors.
"They play such good pressure defense, you can't rush your shots" Schmitz said. "In the last few minutes we were doing that, and our shots weren't falling."
The last few minutes didn't matter though. The Bears took the lead early, leading 30-17 at halftime. But Rifle's defense is worth noting, as well.
They allowed Steamboat to score just six points in the second and fourth quarters. But the Sailors also missed some easy shots.
"We didn't hit our easy shots, but they really took it to us, also," Steamboat guard Bailey Draper said. "They were the most physical team we've played all year."
Steamboat coach Steve Moos agreed it was a combination of Rifle playing well, and his team not so well.
"We didn't shoot well," Moos said. "We didn't pass well. We didn't do anything really well. We weren't playing natural on both ends of the court. We weren't ourselves. They played like we usually do."
Rifle also capitalized on Steamboat's poor rebounding. The Bears scored several points after second-chance offensive rebounds, which often resulted in three-point plays after getting fouled.
"Steamboat is a very good rebounding team," Schmitz said. "We knew we would have to move our feet and go to the board hard."
Leaders for Rifle were senior Krista Wagstrom, whose brilliant jump shot earned her 18 points, and junior Kristin Neffendorf with 13 points. Steamboat's leaders were Draper with 9 points, all from 3-pointers, and Kayla Kostur with eight points.
With the loss, Steamboat falls to 7-3 overall, 2-1 in league play.
"This was a big game for us," Moos said. "But we just couldn't match them inside, or in any phase of the game."
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