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Titans struggle on both sides of the ball in first loss

Lane wbb vs Lower Columbia wbb
Lane wbb vs Lower Columbia wbb

The Titans were down by 18 with 4:54 left in the 3rd, but cut their deficit to two with 55 seconds to go, but Lower Columbia prevailed, 78-71.

How it happened: The Titans scored the first points of the game, but struggled shooting. They shot 28.9 percent and only hit two of seven three point attempts. The Titans were down by as many as 10, but closed the gap to three, 18-15, with 2:03 to go, before the Red Devils went on a 6-0 run and finished the quarter leading 26-17.

Megan Still led the way with six points and two steals. The Titans leading scorer, Mya Thomas India, struggled off the bench, going 0-3 and picked up two fouls.

The situation offensively was the opposite for the Red Devils, they shot 81.8 percent from the field, by far the highest allowed by the Titans, and they hit 5-6 threes. The Red Devils entered the game averaging 6.5 made three on 27.4 percent shooting in four games. The one area the Titans won was the turnover margin, they were plus three. Kenya Lorton made 4-5 from the field and 2-3 from three for the Red Devils. Lorton was shooting 24.2 percent from three in her four games. Six of the seven Red Devils that played scored, five of ten Titans did the same.

The 2nd quarter was a much better defensive quarter, but the offense continued to struggle for the Titans. Another Red Devil three was the way the 2nd started. A few more baskets and a few more Titan misses gave the Red Devils a 10-5 run and a 36-22 advantage. After 2:46 with no points, Thomas made her first and only shot of the half, it was a three. The Titans would close the half on a 10-4 run, but still trailed 40-32.

The 2nd quarter was more of the same offensively for the Titans, they shot a season low 26.3 percent from the field and minus Still, they had only seven points. Thomas was 1-7 from the floor and 1-6 from three for five points. Still led the way again with eight more points on 3-7 shooting, she added four rebounds. A key facilitator, Emma Jones, had three assists after only one in the 1st. The Red Devils only shot 26.7 percent with only two threes and Lorton was scoreless. Despite the poor shooting from Lower Columbia, the Titans only won the quarter by one, 15-14.

The Titans offense finally woke up in the 3rd, but their defense fell off like the 1st quarter. The Red Devils went on a 12-3 run to open the quarter. An Emily Packham three would give the Red Devils their largest lead, 18. After a timeout the Titans went on a 11-0 run that included seven Thomas points. A Lorton three stopped the run, but the Titans had cut their deficit by seven going into the 4th, 62-51.

In the quarter the Titans shot 41.2 percent and again struggled from three, making 1-6. Thomas had her best quarter by far offensively, scoring nine points on 4-8 shooting, but 1-4 from three. The rest of the team was 3-9 with 10 points. The Red Devils got six points from three players and made four more three and shot 66.7 percent from three. It was their second quarter of 50 percent of better from the field.

The deciding quarter was the Titans best. After a 30 second Titan timeout, Still converted a steal into a layup and were within single digits, again. Each team would counter with short runs before a full timeout by the Titans down 73-64. A 7-0 run out of the timeout had the Titans within two with 55 seconds left. A layup from the Red Devils, two missed Titan layups and 3-4 from the line by Lower Columbia and the game was over.

After struggling with foul trouble, Kylie Guelsdorf had six points and four rebounds in seven minutes. Aolani Talamaivao-Calderon led with six points and Still had four points, two rebounds and two steals. It was the Titans only quarter that they completely outplayed the Red Devils, they shot 47.4 percent and held the Red Devils to 33.3 percent and only one three. The problem was no made threes, 2-4 from the line and one assist on nine field goals; all of which only gave the Titans a plus four point advantage.

What/who stood out: Lower Columbia was making less than a quarter of their attempts from three, and they managed to shoot 57.1 percent and make 12. The Titans attempted three more free throws, but made one fewer than the Red Devils. The Titans were plus three in the turnover category, the previous games turnover margins were 21, 14, 9 and 25.

The Titans leading scorer, Thomas, had 18, but shot 7-23 and 2-14 from three. On the bright side Still continued to look great with 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals. She shot 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three. Guelsdorf quietly had a good game, 11 points and eight rebounds, but only played 22 minutes because of foul trouble, had four fouls.

What it means: It was only game five, and it was the first road game, so the loss can be a learning experience given that the Titans were down only two with 55 seconds left, despite an 18 point deficit with 15 to play. 

What's next: The Titans head to Washington for the Pierce Holiday Invitational; they open the tournament with Wenatchee Valley (4-1) at 2 p.m. The Knights are led by Ashlynn Burgess who averages 16.6 ppg and 5 rpg. Their lone loss was vs Walla Walla, the defending NWAC champions, 71-63.