Lady Savages suffer first loss against Washington

Autum Barthelman goes one-on-one against her Washington defender on the tail end of a fast-break attempt. The Lady Savages suffered their first loss when they faced Washington on December 11.

The past couple years the Lady Savages have been given a quality non-conference test, when they played against Washington. A couple years ago the Lady Demons were able to defend their home court, while last year Sigourney was able to do the same. With a rubber match scheduled this season, the Lady Savages were set for another clash. This time, the Lady Savages couldn't hold on, as they lost the road game 49-53 on December 11.

Sigourney started the game out with a strong defensive presence, holding Washington scoreless during the first four minutes of the game. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the floor the floor the Lady Savages were able to knock down their first two three-point attempts. The speedy and suffocating press kept Washington off balance and led to some turnovers, and also wore down some of the clock.

The Lady Savages couldn't make some of their shots in the paint, but were able to find their way to the free throw line and convert from there. After one quarter of play the score was 13-4.

Things started to get more physical from there, with Sigourney getting the brunt of the foul calls. Those fouls started to add up and led to Summer Barthelman being benched midway through the second quarter after picking up her third foul. Washington took advantage of the line-up change and was able to make a push late in the second quarter. The Lady Savages were able hold onto a slim lead by continuing to convert at the free throw line. At the half, the score stood at 25-23.

"We had to play our bench a bit more but they have to be ready to play for us, that's what they're there for" Lady Savages coach Zach Tremmel said.

The pace of the game and scoring increased more as the second half got underway, something that benefitted both teams as they attempted to race down the court in a track meet style game. Autum Barthelman began to take over the scoring duties, as she has for much of the season already. She would drive to the hoop when she found an opening and either convert with a basket or free throws, being one of the more reliable free throw shooters for the Lady Savages.

A fairly quiet third quarter from either team resulted in a 32-31 lead for Washington.

"We needed to be more consistent on offense," Tremmel said. "We started out good and then got stagnant for two or so quarters. That was the difference."

Some fouls and turnovers made by the Lady Savages allowed Washington to keep the ball for chunks at a time. The Lady Demons were able to take the lead, but Sigourney fired back with several clutch threes to take a minimal lead back. Fouls wound up sending Washington to the free throw line multiple times, which ended up sending Summer, Leah Carter and Makenna Hammes to the bench after fouling out.

Sigourney made several rally attempts, but the fouls and free throws were ultimately too much as time wound down. The Lady Savages left with a bitter feeling, not only suffering their first loss, but losing by such a small margin 53-49.

"It was good to see Autum finally get going from behind the arc, but we have to have some other girls step up," Tremmel said. "This is how we started to play last year, relying too much on Autum."

Autum led the Lady Savages with 28 points, including knocking down four of six from three and 10 of 13 from the free throw line. She also finished with a team-high three steals. Brooke Waechter also finished in double figures with 10 points, including two made threes. Waechter also had eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. As a team, the Lady Savages were able to convert on eight of their 21 three-point attempts.

Sigourney wasn't given much time to think about the loss, as they traveled to play Iowa Valley on December 12.