The Rolla girls basketball team (8-11, 2-2 OC) traveled to West Plains for an Ozark Conference matchup on Thursday, Feb. 1. The game was back and forth all night long, but turnovers proved to be Rolla's downfall in a 45-42 loss.
The Lady Bulldogs were able to pound the paint early with Rebecca Janke and Mattie Dean. The duo each scored six points in the opening quarter, while Dean added six more points in the second quarter and Janke added two more. Janke and Dean scored all but two of Rolla's first half points. The first quarter ended in a tie at 14, but West Plains knocked down a pair of threes in the second quarter to help put them out in front 26-22 headed into the half.
West Plains made some defensive adjustments in the second half to try to shut down Janke and Dean in the paint. As a result, the two combined for just five points in the third quarter. Ellie Rodgers made trip after trip to the free throw line in the third, going 6-7 from the charity stripe to lead Rolla offensively. Kiana Garner added a three to help give the Lady Bulldogs an offensive spark. Kendra Davidson knocked down two threes to keep West Plains close, but Rolla was able to carry a slim 36-35 lead into the final frame.
Rolla let things slip away in the fourth as they kept trying to force the ball down into the paint. West Plains shut down those passing lanes to snag some turnovers and hold Rolla to just six points in the quarter. West Plains did a lot of their damage from the free throw line in the fourth, going 6-9 from the free throw line to finish off a 45-42 win.
"This was another game where turnovers did us in. It was a back and forth ball-game all night," said head coach Luke Floyd. "Unfortunately for us, every time we’d get a lead we would go three or four possessions in a row of turning the ball over and give the lead right back. We were able to use our size early on, but then started forcing it which led to many of our turnovers."
The Lady Bulldogs turned the ball over 23 times in the loss as they attempted to keep their bigs involved in the second half. Despite not scoring much in the second half, Dean and Janke still led Rolla offensively. Dean led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points, while adding seven rebounds. Janke recorded a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds, while adding three blocks, a steal and an assist. Rodgers chipped in another 10 points with a team-high five assists, whole grabbing two boards and a steal. Garner was the only other Lady Bulldog to score with five points, two assists and a steal. Loran Pritchett didn't contribute to the point total, but grabbed eight rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Davidson was a problem for Rolla all night long, as she led West Plains in scoring with 21 points. She was the only Lady Zizzer to score in double figures.
The Lady Bulldogs will stay on the road for their next contest, as they stay within the Ozark Conference with a trip to Parkview on Monday, Feb. 5. Rolla has five more gams on their regular season slate, all of which will come against conference foes.