12-21-07 - East Central’s Lady Tigers passed their first adversity test with flying colors Thursday in Lone Star Conference crossover basketball action.
ECU, behind senior Lacey Goldwire’s career-high 37 points, upended host Texas Woman’s University 74-60 in the Lady Tigers’ first full game without first-team, all-conference performer Jastin Flenory.
Flenory, a 5-9 senior post, was sidelined for the 2007-08 season after suffering a torn achilles tendon injury during ECU’s 56-45 home victory over St. Edward’s (Texas) on Saturday.
"Before we came out, I told them to believe in the team, believe in themselves and believe in overcoming adversity," said Lady Tiger head coach Kent Franz. "We came out and played well and then went through a little adversity during the game. But you could see our kids’ confidence growing as the game went along."
Goldwire, the 5-10 senior out of Del City High School, knocked down 12-of-18 shots from the floor, including 1-of-3 from 3-point land, and 12-of-13 from the free-throw line to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and a steal.
"Goldwire played as possessed as I’ve ever seen," Franz said. "We told them that we had to replace (Flenory’s) points, rebounds and minutes and Lacey took that to heart. Of those shots taken, I didn’t think she forced a lot when she went to the rack."
Though Goldwire was the only double-figure scorer for the Lady Tigers, she did receive an outstanding effort from a supporting cast.
Senior Kristie Dodgion, junior Kacey Thomas and sophomore Angela Kalanoska each chipped in eight points as Dodgion finished with eight rebounds and three assists while Thomas pulled down five boards to go with a pair of steals and two blocked shots.
The Lady Tigers shot 46.8 percent from the field (22-of-47), 81.8 percent from the free-throw line (27-of-33) and owned a 40-34 rebounding advantage after trailing 19-16 on the boards at halftime. Of TWU’s total boards, 15 came off the offensive glass.
"We let them (Pioneers) hang around because we couldn’t keep them off the offensive boards," said Franz. "With about four or five minutes to go, they cut it to four. But after that we showed great poise and turned up the heat just enough on defense to succeed."
ECU junior guard Veronica Valles had two big steals in the final two minutes to go along with her four points, four rebounds and two steals and freshman guard Casi Rawls collected three assists to go with three points and a steal. Whitney Harbour came off the bench to nail one 3-pointer and Carly Ballew also tacked on three points on the day.
After TWU pulled within 61-57 with 4:40 to go, the Lady Tigers outscored the hosts 13-3 the rest of the way thanks to clutch free-throw shooting. ECU was 13-of-16 from the charity stripe in the final 4:04 as Goldwire was a perfect 8-of-8 during that span.
Renee Renz paced the Pioneers with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Savannah Thompson was next with 11 points.
TWU shot just 34.9 percent for the game and managed to convert only 1-of-17 three-point attempts (5.9 percent).
The Lady Tigers, in grabbing a 35-26 halftime advantage, shot 55.6 percent from the floor as Goldwire led the way with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
ECU hit a pair of clutch shots down the first-half stretch in building that nine-point halftime cushion. Veronica Valles sank a 15-foot jumper to beat the shot clock and Goldwire had a buzzer-beating jumper.
The Lady Tigers limited TWU to 30 percent shooting in the opening half.
ECU is now idle until Jan. 3 when it visits Eastern New Mexico University for a 6:30 p.m. (CST) Lone Star Conference crossover game in Portales, New Mexico. The Lady Tigers then visit West Texas A&M for another LSC crossover clash on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. before returning home on Monday, Jan. 7, to host Southwestern Christian at 6 p.m. inside the Kerr Activities Center.