After a two-week hiatus the Lady Cougars earned a lopsided 56-16 victory over the Elsberry Lady Indians in the St. Dominic-Imo’s Christmas Basketball Tournament at St. Dominic on Dec. 27.
“For us, we haven’t played in 14 days, so it was very important to come out and play our game,” Lutheran coach Erin Pauk said. “We needed to relax and get back in the flow of things.”
The Lady Cougars (4-2), who hold the top seed in the tournament, dominated from the early minutes and held a 20-4 advantage at the conclusion of the first quarter. The dominance continued throughout the second quarter. Angie Steinbacher’s basket at the 2:37 mark in the second quarter gave Lutheran a 30-6 lead. The Lady Cougars led 32-8 at halftime.
Lutheran outscored Elsberry 16-10 in the third quarter and 8-0 in the fourth quarter. The Lady Cougars scoring was spread around, as eight players scored.
“That’s our team, that’s what we do,” Pauk said. “We expect everyone to contribute offensively and everyone has the ability to do that. If you’re open, you have the green light to shoot. We need to spread the points around like that.”
Jamie Skerston led the way for the Lady Cougars with 13 points.
“We got a lot of offensive rebounds and second chances,” Skerston said. “This is an important win because we had to practice hard for two weeks. This is an important tournament because we are seeded first.”
Amanda Hall was the only other player in double digits with 10 points. Lauren Orr (eight), Steinbacher (seven), Carley Von Deyler (six), Hannah Leppien (five), Natalie Weinhold (four), and Claire Schoedel (three) also scored for Lutheran.
Lutheran’s transition game created plenty of opportunities for its offense.
“They got about 20 points from their transition game,” Elsberry coach Hector Bencomo said. “From that point on we could have made the easy shots, the layups and uncontested shots, but we had problems putting it in the basket. We have to go back to the drawing board and get back to what we need to do. Our girls work very, very hard.”
Pauk thought her team’s zone defense was effective.
“I thought we were able to extend in the first half and get out and pressure a little bit,” she said. “I think as long as we’re active in our zone and communicate and move defensively we can make things happen on a zone.”
Brittni Hagemeier led Elsberry’s offense with five points.