As teams make their final sprint down the home stretch, Marshalltown Community College women's basketball coach Alison Lacey is waiting for her team to pick up the pace.
Instead, it seems they're moving in reverse.
"I think our effort is back to where it was in December," Lacey said. "I think we're going backwards."
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
MCC’s Mady Van Metre, right, gets a shot past Iowa Central’s Lauren Bengen at the Student Activity Center on Wednesday. Van Metre scored a game-high 17 points, but the Tritons won 85-52. Bengen, a Reinbeck native, tallied 14 points for Iowa Central.
The Tigers struggled to get much of anything going Wednesday in a 85-52 ICCAC Division II loss to Iowa Central at the Student Activity Center.
Reinbeck native Lauren Bengen and Miliak Koyamainavure each tallied 14 points and six boards to lead the Tritons (18-6, 9-3) to their third straight win.
The Tigers closed out January with their own three-game streak, but now find themselves stuck in a four-game rut with similar issues reemerging.
IOWA CENTRAL (18-6, 9-3) - McRae 0-4 2-2 2, Dentlinger 1-13 2-4 4, Oja 5-7 1-1 11, Gregory 1-3 2-3 4, Bengen 5-9 1-3 14, Lindburg 1-1 0-0 2, Doyle 4-10 2-2 13, Seibert 3-7 0-0 9, Koyamainavure 6-9 2-4 14, Binion 0-1 0-0 0, Easton 2-5 0-0 4, Yetmar 1-5 2-2 4, Harvey 3-10 0-0 7. TOTALS 32-84 14-21 85.
MCC (8-16, 3-8) - Salgado 4-19 2-2 10, Tobler 1-9 6-7 8, Lee 1-4 0-2 3, Van Metre 5-18 7-7 17, Slade 1-2 0-0 2, Hansen 3-8 0-0 9, Whitmore 1-4 1-2 3, Henio 0-3 0-0 0. TOTALS 16-67 16-23 52.
Halftime-ICCC 37-22. 3-Point Goals-ICCC 10-28 (Bengen 3-3, Doyle 3-7, Seibert 3-7, Harvey 1-4, Binion 0-1, Oja 0-1, Gregory 0-1, Dentlinger 0-4). MCC 4-20 (Hansen 3-8, Lee 1-1, Henio 0-1, Tobler 0-1, Salgado 0-2, Van Metre 0-7). Rebounds-ICCC 58 (Dentlinger 9), MCC 44 (Slade 9). Assists-ICCC 8 (Doyle 3), MCC 3 (Tobler 2). Total Fouls-ICCC 16, MCC 21.
"I think we've relaxed a little bit because we thought we were getting better," Lacey said. "We won some games, relaxed a little bit and thought we were better than we are."
The Tritons marched out to a 15-2 lead as MCC went the first nine minutes without a field goal. Lauren Hansen sparked the Tigers' 8-0 run with a pair of treys before Ashley Salgado added a basket to bring MCC within five with 9:36 left in the opening half, though that was as close as they'd get. Iowa Central countered by scoring eight of the next nine points and took a 37-22 cushion into the half.
Mady Van Metre led the Tigers with 17 points and Ashley Salgado added 10, though MCC finished just 16-of-67 from the field. Shantal Tobler chipped in eight points and seven rebounds and Hansen had scored nine.
"We've lost our competitiveness and our fight in the past few games," Van Metre said. "We need to have more energy in practice and carry that into the game. When things go wrong, we can't let our energy drop."
Though Iowa Central had its own cold start offensively, shooting just 15-of-44 from the field in the first half, yet it cashed in on 19 offensive rebounds and won the battle of the boards 58-44.
Theresa Doyle and Babaye Oja scored 13 and 11 points respectively for the Tritons (18-6, 9-3), which received votes in the latest NJCAA poll.
The Tigers were without their top two rebounders, Mackenzie Gott (9.8 rpg) and Latrice McMullen (6.5 rpg) due to injury, though Lacey believes that's only part of the equation.
"We miss Mackenzie and Latrice, but I don't think we're giving 100 percent effort," Lacey said. "I'd like to see someone step up and a have a little bit of fight and little bit of fire in their eyes and want to finish this season off strong. We'll see who it is - if anyone."
The Tigers battle Iowa Lakes on the road Saturday at 1 p.m. The Lakers defeated MCC 59-50 on Jan. 16 at the Student Activity Center.
The Tritons topped the Tigers 65-55 in their first meeting Dec. 15 in Fort Dodge. ... Latrice McMullen is still out indefinitely with a knee injury suffered against Ellsworth on the road Jan. 19. ... Mackenzie Gott missed Wednesday's game due to a recent concussion though Lacey is hopeful she'll be ready for Saturday.