Niagara Gazette — After being in what’s been very unfamiliar territory for the Niagara County Community College women’s basketball team lately — a losing streak — the team became reacquainted last night with what it’s been quite used to this season, winning big.
The Thunderwolves women ended a two-game skid by dominating Genesee Community College on the road, 68-31.
The men’s team, meanwhile, clawed back after a 26-9 deficit in the second half only to lose in the final seconds, falling 76-74.
The key for the women was defense, which held their hosts to about 15 percent from the field and allowed only 13 points in the first half.
“We gave up 85 points the other night at Jamestown and we all agreed that’s unacceptable,” said NCCC women’s coach Nate Beutel. “Tonight we really committed to the defensive end and got the stops when we needed to, limited them to one shot — which is big because they’re one of the best rebounding teams in the country — and turned it into easy offense in transition, too.”
That performance against Jamestown Community College resulted in the women’s second consecutive loss. It was a mini-slump which ended the team’s hopes for an undefeated run but, as Beutel sees it, also brought something good to his players.
“I think it refocused us,” he said about his team, now 22-2 overall and 3-1 in the Western New York Athletic Conference. “We’ve never really been in this position where we’re kind of the favorites and we’re expected to win every time out. Sometimes that pressure, it’s a little bit too much for some people to handle. I think we refocused after those two losses and regrouped and had a great effort tonight.”
Lew-Port graduate Kristine Ripson led NCCC with 24 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Jaclyn Welch added 13 points and had four steals in the first half. Roy-Hart graduate Jesse DeWaters scored eight points and also had four steals, as well as 14 rebounds. Albion graduate Tanisha Moyer had 10 points and seven rebounds.
The men’s game followed, and after heading into the first half leading 35-26, were outscored 26-9 in the first nine minutes of the second half. The winning shot for Genesee CC came with just 6.2 seconds remaining.
“We really didn’t execute today the way you need to to get road wins in the WNYAC,” said NCCC men’s coach Bill Beilein after the game.
EJ Sandoval led the Thunderwolves with 23 points, going 7-for-12 from the field and hitting both three-point shots he attempted. Eli Jones added 13 points and led the team in rebounds with eight. Jordan Street had seven rebounds.
Like their female counterparts, the Thunderwolves men (20-3 overall, 4-2 WNYAC) have rarely tasted defeat this season.
Next up for the men’s and women’s basketball teams are home games against rival Erie Community College, next Tuesday beginning with the women’s game at 5:30 p.m. and the men’s game at 7:30 p.m.
Beilein was asked how his team will respond to last night’s loss as it prepares for next week’s game against the Kats.
“We’re looking for some time off, Friday and Saturday, and will then regroup and rally and hopefully get some positive energy going,” said Beilein. “We’ll work on the little mistakes.”
As for the women?
“I think they’re re-energized, refocused and confident once again and everyone on this roster is willing to step up and be ready to go,” said Beutel about his squad. “We’re looking forward to hosting them and having a great ball game on Tuesday night.”