LAMPASAS — Jenny Bowden does not mind mistakes as long as her team learns from them.
Lampasas was far from perfect Tuesday evening, committing a whopping 45 turnovers while making a mere 32.6 percent of its shots against Robinson. The combination was too much for the Lady Badgers to overcome as they lost 66-44, blemishing their record for the first time this season.
After the game, Lampasas’ head coach admitted her players were their own worst enemy, but believes the experience will prepare her team for the future.
“It’s early in the season, and if we can play this up-tempo then I’m OK with a few of those mistakes,” Bowden said. “We had too many tonight, but I think in the long run, playing teams like we did tonight and playing up-tempo is only going to help us.”
Despite committing 10 turnovers in the first quarter, the Lady Badgers were able to run with Robinson and trailed by only two points, 12-10, entering the second quarter.
Then things began to get out of control.
The Lady Rockets outscored Lampasas 17-7 in the second quarter as the Lady Badgers missed nine of their 11 shot attempts and did not make a field goal until less than two minutes remained in the half.
Trailing 24-12, Lampasas recorded the first of only two series with consecutive field goals as Caitlyn Shaughnessy scored on a layup before junior Stacie Olivarez found Qadrey Tolliver for a 3-pointer, making the score 24-17. The Lady Badgers would not get any closer as Robinson responded with five unanswered points to take a 29-17 lead into halftime.
“We could not buy a basket tonight,” Bowden said. “We missed so many layups or shots that we should have taken a layup on, and we didn’t. … But (Robinson) is a good ballclub, and playing that caliber of a team is gong to help get us ready for district.”
The Lady Badgers (4-1) missed 31 of their 46 field goal attempts in the game but were able to make a few runs at Robinson early in the third quarter. Sophomore post Alexis Lewis and Shaughnessy delivered back-to-back baskets after grabbing offensive rebounds to trim the deficit to nine points, 32-23, but the Lady Rockets quickly answered.
The process repeated itself several more times with Alexis Theus’ short jumper making the score 38-29. It was the last time the Lady Badgers were within single digits of Robinson.
The Lady Rockets (4-0) used a 14-0 run to bridge the third and fourth quarters until Olivarez hit a pair of free throws with 7:08 remaining to end the drought with Lampasas trailing 52-31. The Lady Badgers were able to match Robinson for the remainder of the game, but never posed a serious threat as they struggled to get open shots.
“A lot of times they started to pass before they even looked because players are always there,” Bowden said. “But against a team that plays that quick and shoots the gap, they are going to get it every time. We’ve got to meet our passes.”
Nine of Lampasas’ final 15 points came at the free-throw line, where they made 13 of 20 shots in the game.
Shaughnessy led the Lady Badgers with 10 points, Theus added eight points and Lewis, Tolliver and Jana Sanford each finished with six points. Lewis, Shaughnessy and Theus shared team-high rebounding honors with six apiece, while Olivarez had three steals before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
The defeat ends the Lady Badgers’ best start to a season since 1998, when Lampasas began 8-0 en route to a 31-6 record.
“Sometimes it is hard, but sometimes you need a loss in order to make you realize (your problem areas),” Bowden said. “I just keep telling them that we are playing faster this year, and we are going to make mistakes. It’s OK. I’d rather make them now than in district.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org