The Missouri Western women won their first basketball game of the season 52-43 last Saturday against the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs Mountain Lions in the final game of the Hyatt Place Thanksgiving Classic.
The Griffons started off strong, taking control after scoring the first eight points of the game. Western would keep a solid lead throughout the remainder of the first half, finishing the first half leading 30-21. The Griffons led by as many as 11 points for the remainder of the game and finished with a final score of 52-43.
Western was led by sophomore guard Jessica Koch, who finished with 15 points, and junior forward Rachel Luteyn, who finished with 11. After this win, the Griffons sit at 1-3.
Junior guard Lauren Nolke was happy that the team clinched their first victory of the season after struggling last season.
“It felt really good, especially because it took us 13 games last year,” Nolke said.
Western out shot and out rebounded their opponent for the first time this season, shooting 35.7 percent and getting 43 rebounds. The Griffons also took advantage of the Mountain Lions’ turnovers and were able to get 22 points out of them.
“I think we came out and played a lot harder than we have,” Nolke said. “We didn’t necessarily play smart all the time, but I think our hustle made up for a lot of stuff.”
The Griffons competition will heat up when conference play starts this week. Western will face Emporia State on Friday, Dec. 2 at 5:30 p.m.
According to Nolke, the key to helping the Griffons continue on a winning path is to play smarter.
“Right now we need to work on understanding our offense as a whole,” Nolke said. “Some players just get confused at times, and we can’t back in the swing of things. Just working on playing smarter is the biggest thing right now.”