It was not how Schreiner University’s women’s basketball team envisioned ending its season, but the Mountaineers left everything on the court Saturday afternoon.
Colorado College needed every second to hold off the Mountaineers 60-56 to advance to Sunday’s Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship game against Trinity University, which is hosting the tournament.
The Mountaineers pushed and pushed Saturday afternoon to work its way past the length of Colorado College. Schreiner held the lead at the end of the first quarter, tied at halftime and held the lead at the end of the third quarter. The Tigers had a little bit more in the fourth quarter.
The loss ended one of the best seasons in Schreiner history — at least the best in the nine seasons the Mountaineers have played in the SCAC — and a 17-10 finish is something to build on.
“I’m excited for the challenge of the future,” said Stephens, who is now 32-22 in two seasons as head coach.
Outmatched by Colorado’s post players, including 6-foot-2 Zoe Tomlinson, the Mountaineers frustrated the bigs with what has become a signature style of defense to keep the game tight.
The Mountaineers forced the Tigers into 17 turnovers, converting that into 20 points. Colorado, however, just shot better, especially down the stretch.
Tomlinson dominated down low with 21 points and 17 rebounds. The Mountaineers countered with 5-10 senior Gabby Ivarra and 6-0 first-year player Madison Parham. Ivarra, playing in her final game, battled for 10 points and eight rebounds. Parham, named to the all-first-year team, scored two points, but her presence helped keep Tomlinson from unleashing havoc against the Mountaineers.
It was a chess game, with Schreiner coach Stacy Stephens rotating her players but kept sophomore guards Elisa Peralta and DeMauria Miles in the game for more than 37 minutes each. Miles scored 17 points, including three 3-pointers, while Peralta scored 13.