Schreiner University women's basketball team showed its promise on Saturday — a finishing team peaking at the right time.
The Mountaineers completed a weekend sweep of Colorado College and Houston's St. Thomas University to stay in the hunt for a high seed in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title.
After playing, arguably, their best game of the season with a 63-60 win over Colorado College, the Mountaineers came back Saturday to throttle visiting St. Thomas, 73-63.
At 5-3 in the SCAC, Schreiner has won three of its last four and is in sole possession of third place. Trinity and Texas Lutheran are both unbeaten, but COVID-19 continues to disrupt the schedule.
However, on Saturday night, the Mountaineers got its most team-oriented performance of the season, with all 13 players scoring. Demauria Miles scored eight of her team-high 10 points in the fourth quarter, including hitting a pair of clutch 3-pointers.
Demauria Miles spots up for one of her two fourth-quarter 3-pointers.
"We had some moments where we probably could have done better, but I'm proud of these girls for two games in two days," Schreiner University coach Stacey Stephens said.
Heading into Saturday's matchup, Schreiner could have easily had a letdown after avenging a 79-53 loss to Colorado College on Monday. If anything, the Mountaineers played even better against St. Thomas.
"Nobody really understands how hard you have to work the second day," Stephens said. "It's both days."
And when Stephens says work, she implicitly means it. The Mountaineers play a frenetic full-court press defense, and St. Thomas withered under the pressure. St. Thomas committed 31 turnovers, failed to get the ball across halfcourt twice in the second half and was outscored 20-11 off of those turnovers.
In the paint, the Mountaineers were disadvantaged against St. Thomas — just like they were against Colorado College — but Schreiner's pressure and depth proved the difference.
There were plenty of reasons why Schreiner could have lost that game Saturday night — the Mountaineers missed 25 3-pointers, were horrendous from the free-throw line and shot just 33% from the field. However, they found a way to win.
The hyper-aggressive Elisa Peralta forced two steals that led to layups, and she scored six of her seven points in the fourth. Mirando Vallejo came off the bench to score seven points. Senior Josline Hernandez scored nine points, and senior Gabby Ivarra added eight.
Elisa Peralta provided a boost of energy for the Mountaineers in the fourth quarter.
But it was Miles's calm 3-point shooting that was the dagger. After leading 40-24 at halftime, the Mountaineers went cold in the third quarter. With 4:54 left in the game, St. Thomas had rallied to cut the Mountaineers' lead to 55-53, and that's when Miles responded.
Miles hit her first 3-pointer on a right-side shot near the Schreiner bench to boost the lead to 58-53 with 4:36 left in the game. Miles struck again from the same spot with 3:50 left to boost the lead to 63-55. With 2:47 left, Miles took a pass from Ivarra and attacked the basket for a bucket and a foul. She missed the free throw, but the damage was done.
"(Miles) ain't got nowhere to go but up," Stephens said of the freshman guard from Little Elm, Texas. "It happens a lot with freshman, you know, that it takes a little while to get their groove in a game. Their confidence can get shaken a little bit, but she bounces back real quick."
Schreiner hits the road this coming week with games at Austin College in Sherman and Centenary College in Shreveport.