Blossoms fall twice to state schools

It’s almost as if Arkadelphia has ganged up on the University of Arkansas at Monticello women’s basketball program the first time through the Great American Conference schedule.
Thursday, the Cotton Blossoms dropped a game 63-52 at Ouachita Baptist University then, two days later, came home to face Henderson State University—only to fall again, 69-47, at Steelman Field House.  
The losses left UAM’s women at 5-8 overall and 1-7 in league play. And Mother Nature stopped the Blossoms’ chances at ending what has become a four-game losing streak when Tuesday’s game at rival Southern Arkansas University was postponed because of snow. The UAM-SAU rivalry game will be made up next Tuesday, following home games with Arkansas Tech University (5:30 p.m. Thursday) and Harding University (2 p.m. Saturday).
Senior Brittnee Broadway paced the Blossoms against Ouachita with 12 points and eight rebounds. Senior Taylor Collins and junior Idalis Rubalcava chipped in with 10 points apiece.
“I thought with both games last week,” UAM head coach Tanya Ray said, “we did not do a good job executing what we wanted to do on the offensive side of the ball. With Ouachita, they were long and athletic and took us out of our comfort zone. We did not do a good job of moving the basketball so that their defense had to work.
“They were able to keep us on one side of the floor which wasn’t good for us. We also struggled running our set plays with their size on the perimeter. We held them to 63 points, which was good, but our we shot ourselves in the foot on offense.”
UAM raced out to an early 7-3 lead to open the game at Bill Vining Arena after a Briana Hayles steal and fast-break layup, but Ouachita went on an 8-0 run to lead by four points at the end of 10 minutes. old an 11-7 lead by the quarter’s end.
Despite the Blossoms scoring the first four points of the second period, Ouachita never lost its momentum—and led by 15 points with 1:50 remaining in the contest.
Saturday, it was an even more dominating performance by UAM’s’ opponents. Henderson shot out to an 11-0 lead and never was headed. The Blossoms recovered somewhat in the first quarter but trailed by five after one period.
The Reddies, who nailed seven three-point shots in the first half (as compared with UAM’s 0-for-7 performance from beyond the arc), led UAM by as many as 23 points late in the second quarter.
“Henderson does a really good job of spreading the floor with shooters,” Ray noted. “They were able to connect on 12 three pointers, while we only made one. We were only able to put up 18 first-half points and it killed us. We were better the second half, but we had already dug a hole for ourselves and had an uphill battle the second half. 
“Unfortunately for us, it was a night when all of our shooters where off. As we go down the stretch, we have got to find a way to put points on the board.”
Sophomore Mackenzie Johnson was the lone UAM player in double figures Saturday, scoring just 10 points.

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