Shields’ double-double almost brings Lane back
Although losing at home is a rare thing for the Lane Titans women’s basketball team, losing at home to the Chemeketa Community College Storm is becoming an annual tradition.
The Titans’ Feb. 9 narrow defeat at the hands of the Storm, with 67-63 on the scoreboard after the buzzer sounded, marked the third home loss in 13 years. Last year, the Storm defeated Lane with a 67-57 victory.
Sophomore Megan Shields did all she could to keep the Titans in the game by posting 15 points and game-highs of 14 rebounds and four blocks.
“It was a tough one to lose — real tough — but the only way for us to go from here is up,” Shields said. “We have to put it behind us and focus on the rest of the season.”
Sophomore Danielle Schmidt, who is recovering from injuries to both her legs, came off the bench to contribute 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in just over half the game played.
Schmidt is dealing with her pain and soreness related to compartment syndrome in her tibialis posterior muscle, which is located between her shins and calves.
“Megan and Danielle were the ones who kept us in the game and gave us our best chance to win at the end,” Titans head coach Greg Sheley said. “Their play was one of the positives we have to take from this game.”
Lane struggled in the first half, shooting a dismal 30 percent (12-for-40) from the field, including 14 percent (2-for-14) from three-point territory to go into halftime trailing 35-27.
“This is the second game in which we shot horrendous, and this time we weren’t able to overcome it,” Sheley said. “We are losing confidence in our shot and we need to find a way to fix that.”
The Storm opened the second half with an 11-6 run after the first five minutes to take a 46-33 lead.
The Titans cut the lead to single digits, 54-45, after a pair of free throws by sophomore Kersey Wilcox.
From there, Lane would battle back to cut the lead to three at the four-minute mark. Schmidt grabbed an offensive rebound after a miss by Shields and was fouled. She converted both free throws to cut the Storm’s lead to 59-56.
After a bucket by Chemeketa, sophomore Jordan Wilcox hit her second three-pointer of the game to trim the lead to two.
Both teams would trade baskets during the following two minutes before Lane missed a pair of layups that would have given them the lead.
After a timeout by Lane at the one-minute mark, freshman Renee Lucero launched a three-pointer but the ball bounced off the rim, thus ending the hopes of a Titan comeback.
“We lacked poise and execution in the end of the game and that was shocking to me,” Sheley said. “We’ve been working on that for the past two or three weeks and just failed to do so.”
For the game, Lane shot 32 percent (25-for-79) from the field and an even worse 13 percent (4-for-30) from beyond the arc. To make matters worse, Lane shot only 50 percent (9-for-18) from the free throw line.
“Bottom line is that we should have won this game, and that’s what is most alarming to me right now,” Sheley said. “We have some big games coming up so we’d better be ready to go if we want to achieve our goal in the end.”
The Titans (22-2, 8-2 Southern Region) head to Coos Bay for a Feb. 13 showdown with the Southwestern Oregon Community College Lakers at 5:30 p.m. The Lakers are currently seeded fourth in the Southern Region, clinging to that last playoff spot by a half-game with a 12-10 overall record and 5-5 in regional play.
Lane previously defeated Southwestern Oregon Jan. 16 with a score of 106-78 in the team’s only meeting this year.
Sophomore Quynne Eharis leads the Lakers with 18.73 points and 12.82 rebounds per game, making her the top rebounder in the NWAACC. Also contributing for the Lakers is freshman Jazmin Bembry with 12.95 points and an NWAACC best 6.05 assists per game.
“It’s never easy to travel to Coos Bay on a game day and play in that environment so it’ll be a good test for us,” Sheley said.
Lane returns home Feb. 16 to face the Clackamas Community College Cougars (20-3, 10-0 Southern Region) in a contest between two of the top three teams in the NWAACC. The Titans defeated the Cougars Dec. 9 with a score of 72-68 before they were outplayed Jan. 19, when the Cougars bested Lane 77-64.
Clackamas is led by sophomore Jenny Johnson, one of five Cougars averaging double figures in scoring with 15.26 points per game. Johnson torched the Titans for 25 points in the teams’ previous matchup.