By Mike Pilosof
Listen to the complete game in our archives section
Iola, KS-At some point you would expect Garden City to figure it out. But on Tuesday night, the Broncbusters struggled to find an identity.
And it cost them dearly.
Akia Andrews recorded career highs in points and rebounds with 18 and 15; Kamri Summons chipped in 15, and Allen County beat the Broncbusters for the first time since 2009 78-70 at Red Devils Fieldhouse.
"We played pretty poorly," Head Coach Nick Salazar said. "This was the first time our defense played this poorly."
Garden City (3-4, 1-3), which dropped their third straight contest, could not get stops all night. And for the second straight game, it was a third-quarter run that finally did in Salazar's squad.
Trailing 38-37 with 5:25 left in the period, the Broncbusters missed on five straight chances to take the lead. And boy did the Red Devils make them pay.
Andrews converted a three-point play and drilled a 3-pointer; Summons knocked down a baseline jumper and a free throw and Tamera Shaver connected on a trey to fuel an 11-0 run that gave Allen County (4-4, 3-1) a 49-37 lead with 2:21 to go in the frame.
"We couldn't stop them," Salazar said. "They got whatever shots they wanted. "It's disappointing, but at some point this team will figure it out. We have too much talent not to."
In the fourth, frustrations finally boiled over for the Broncbusters as DeRae Lewis, who had another strong showing with 11 points and seven rebounds, was whistled for a technical foul, as was Salazar following his star player's disqualification after picking up her fifth foul.
"We have to stay out of those situations," Salazar said. "We still had a chance to make a run."
Garden City trailed by nine at that point before Summons and Kendra Houston salted the game away from the line. The closest the Broncbusters got over the final five minutes was eight points.
"We just have to play better period," Salazar explained. "Last year we had a non-conference schedule to get us ready for the rigors of conference. This year, conference games are the ones getting us ready. So it may take a while."
Garden City shot just 38 percent from the floor (28-of-73); it was the third time this season they shot less than 40 percent.
"The shots just aren't falling right now, and our defense is not playing well," Salazar said.
Those shots were clanking off the rim early on, as the Broncbusters went the first five minutes of the game without a single point. Finally Leondra Hawkins buried a 3-pointer to get Garden City on the board.
Eventually the Broncbusters grabbed their first lead when Angel Muir hit a layup to put the Broncbusters up 5-4 with 3:24 to play in the first quarter. It lasted all of 30 seconds before Allen County answered with a 7-0 spurt that put them in front by six.
"We go through these stretches where it's tough to score," Salazar admitted. "We have to figure that out."
While things appeared to be going south, Jessica Carillo enjoyed her best collegiate game for Garden City, scoring a career-high 14 points while pulling down eight rebounds. Monica Barefield added 13 but missed 12 of her 17 shots.
Houston was one of four players in double figures for the Red Devils; she finished with 13. Sequerah Alleyne had 10.
Notes: Garden City had 21 turnovers; it's the fourth straight game where they've had 20 or more…15 of those 21 turnovers came in the first half…During that third quarter to forget, Garden City was just 5-of-16 from the floor (31 percent)…The Broncbusters were plagued by foul trouble all night as both Lewis and Muir was disqualified…Kavita Akula was held scoreless for the first time since Dec. 12, 2015 when she put up a goose egg in Garden City's 13-point loss to Coffeyville; it's only the third time in her Broncbuster career that she failed to score
Next up: Garden City vs. Independence-Saturday, November 26-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com and mobile app: KWKR