SIOUX CITY -- Turnovers continue to plague the Briar Cliff women’s basketball team. Sometimes the Chargers are able to overcome their turnovers, like Wednesday’s road win against a ranked Midland team.
But other times, like Saturday’s game against Hastings at the CNOS Foundation Classic at the Tyson Events Center, the turnovers have led to a loss.
The Chargers had a five-point lead early in the second quarter but eight turnovers in the first six minutes of the second allowed Hastings to go on a 15-3 run.
The Broncos stretched their modest seven-point halftime lead to double-digits in the third quarter. Briar Cliff wasn’t consistent enough on offense in the second half to make up the full deficit and the Chargers lost to 15th-ranked Hastings 74-66.
Briar Cliff had 23 turnovers in the loss. The eight turnovers in the second quarter led to eight points for Hastings during the Broncos 15-3 run.
“Its our Achilles heel and we have to figure it out. You can’t turn the ball over and expect to win college basketball games. We have to do a better job,” Briar Cliff coach Mike Power said. “Teams that don’t normally press, (Hastings) is not a traditionally pressing team, are going to press us. We are going to continue to see that until we show that we can handle pressure.”
The loss to the Broncos prevented Briar Cliff from building on Wednesday’s win against Midland, who is ranked No. 24 in NAIA D-II. The Chargers have lost four of their last seven games, flip-flopping wins with losses during that stretch.
Briar Cliff fell to 10-9 overall and 4-7 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
“That’s kind of who we are right and that’s why our record is what it is. You are (up and then down and then up and down). You gotta bring it every night to be consistent and we aren’t doing that. We aren’t getting consistent play night in and night out,” Power said. “If we do that, we can string together some wins. It’s not because of lack of effort. Our kids are playing hard. It’s just that sometimes playing smart has to come with it. We shoot ourselves in the foot over and over and we have to quit doing that.”
Taylor Wagner finished with 19 points for Briar Cliff and Alyssa Carley had 12.
For Hastings (10-7, 6-5), Sophia Pankratz had 16 points, Gabby Grasso had 16 points and eight rebounds and Mackenzie Willicott had 10 points. The Broncos snapped a four-game losing streak with the win.
Briar Cliff took a 7-4 lead midway through the first quarter and the two teams traded baskets in the opening period. The Chargers went up 18-16 at the end of the first quarter and Alyssa Carley hit a three-pointer to begin second for a 21-16 lead.
Then the Broncos press started to fluster Briar Cliff. The Chargers went more than five minutes without scoring and turned the ball over eight times. The Broncos went on the 15-3 run during that span to go up 31-21.
Briar Cliff made a small dent in Hastings lead and went into halftime down 37-30.
The Chargers only scored seven points in the first eight minutes of the third quarter as Hastings went up 54-37.
“It’s more of an offensive issue right now. We just have to do a better job offensively,” Power said. “You can’t go 15 straight possessions without scoring. You gotta score. It becomes harder and harder to play defense then. It’s gotta get better.”
Taylor Wagner hit a three-pointer and made a layup to jumpstart Briar Cliff’s offense. The Chargers were down 54-45 and the 8-0 run that was started at the end of the third carried over to the fourth. Wagner hit two more three-pointers and a 14-2 run had Briar Cliff down 56-51 with 8:30 left in the game.
But the Chargers didn’t score again for seven minutes and Hastings once again went up by double-digits at 64-51 before Madelyn Deitchler completed a three-point play with 1:30 left in the contest. But Hastings held on for the 74-66 win.