By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE January 31, 2003 The Sullivan County Community College Lady Generals gave the visiting Dutchess Community College Lady Falcons all they could handle Tuesday night in a Region XV basketball game at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
For much of the contest, SCCC (4-9, 2-5 Region XV) stayed right with Dutchess, which was one of nine teams that received votes in the January 21 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III womens basketball poll. (Only the top 10 NJCAA Division III womens teams are ranked in the poll.)
Thanks to four 3-point shots by freshman guard Nicole Argent in the second half, the Lady Generals were able to build a small lead on the Lady Falcons. Argents fourth 3-point shot came with 6:22 left in the contest and gave the Lady Generals a 38-34 lead.
But Dutchess (8-2, 5-1 Region XV) calmly closed the gap and took a 39-38 lead with 4:37 remaining when Loren Hogan put back a teammates errant shot.
The turning point of the game occurred a minute later. With 3:17 showing on the clock, Dutchess center Lillian Letaru stepped to the foul line for two shots. Letaru made both free throws to knot the score at 41-41.
As the second shot went up and the players battled for rebounding position in the lane, however, the referees determined that Lady General freshman center Miranda Walker made a punching motion towards a Lady Falcon player. Walker was immediately assessed a technical foul and ejected from the game.
Hogan then made the subsequent free throws to give the Lady Falcons a 43-41 lead. A minute later, Hogan swished a 3-point shot to extend the Dutchess lead to 46-41 and the Lady Falcons went on to record a 51-41 victory.
We were able to get the ball inside tonight, Dutchess Coach Darry Guiden said. We had a size advantage on them and were able to use it. We played pretty well defensively as well.
Letaru, a six-foot freshman center, led all scorers with 24 points. Hogan, a freshman guard, added 12 points for the Lady Falcons.
We were right there with them at 41-41, SCCC Coach Kyle Walter said. They are one of the top teams in Region XV and we were playing with them. This snapped our three-game winning streak, but weve had five good games this semester.
Walter noted the solid play of starters Argent, Lakeisha Brown, Rachelle Irwin, Krystal Hill and Walker as well as Sandie Darang and Marielle Saunders, whom he praised for coming off the bench to contribute quality minutes.
Rachelle was big on the boards tonight, Walter said. Shes only 5-4, but she knows how to box [players] out and get some rebounds. And Nikki [Argent] was big, hitting those 3s and playing good defense.
Argent led the Lady Generals with 12 points, while teammates Brown and Walker each netted seven points on the evening.