SMU at Bon Appetite Classic / Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006


Saint Mary's
Lewis & Clark
Box Score / Game Highlights: Nichole Hanson, SMU: 9 points; Jessica Weisbrod, SMU: 8 points, 5 rebounds; Crystal Castle, Lewis & Clark: 18 points, 8 rebounds

Defense shines, offense struggles in SMU's loss to host Pioneers

PORTLAND, Ore. — Defensively, Saint Mary's University women's basketball coach Shawn Stimmel couldn't be happier.

His Cardinals held their first two opponents to less than 55 points — and 31 percent shooting from the field.

Offensively … now that's another story.

The Cardinals struggled from the field during their two games of the Lewis & Clark Bon Appetite Classic, averaging just 47 points per game and shooting a meager 40 percent from the field — not to mention the 52 turnovers.

Yet, when the final horn sounded in SMU's 52-38 loss to host Lewis & Clark Saturday, the Cardinals still headed home with a 1-1 overall record.

"To be 1-1 after our first two games is OK — I'm happy with that," said Stimmel, whose team opened the two-day tournament with a 56-43 win over Willamette. "I thought we played exceptionally well defensively in both games, but offensively, we've got a lot of work to do."

The Cardinals dug themselves an early hole against the host Pioneers on Saturday, as Lewis & Clark opened the game with an 11-0 run. SMU cut the gap to two, 21-19, on a Stephanie Ayers (Deer River, Minn.) jumper with four minutes remaining, but the Pioneers used a 6-2 run to take a 27-21 advantage into the locker room at the half.

SMU's offensive struggles continued in the second half, as the Cardinals managed just five points through the first 10 minutes of the second half, allowing Lewis & Clark to turn that six-point lead into a 20-point, 46-26 cushion. The Cardinals, who made just 5 of 19 second-half field goals, never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.

"Lewis & Clark is a very good team — they probably won't score less than 52 points the entire season," said Stimmel of the unbeaten Pioneers. "To hold a team like that to 52 points say a lot about the way our defense is playing.

"We've still got some kinks to work out offensively — we can't be turning the ball over 30 times like we did (against Lewis & Clark) and expect to win may games," continued Stimmel. "But overall, I was pretty pleased with how hard everyone worked — it was a good weekend."