SALT LAKE CITY – All year, CSI head coach Randy Rogers talked about finding extra possessions from somewhere. His team came up one extra possession short on Friday afternoon.
The second-seeded Golden Eagles fell to third-seeded Snow College in the first round of the Region 18 Tournament at Salt Lake Community College 54-52.
CSI had one final chance to tie or win it with 6.7 seconds to play, but after nearly turning it over, sophomore guard Anna Jofresa missed a long three-pointer, then after grabbing her own rebound and dishing to freshman guard Jamie Nielsen, Nielsen missed a semi-clean look at mid-range jumper.
“Snow still had several fouls to give, and we expected them to foul again. I told Anna that they would probably foul again, but once the play broke down, we rushed things,” said CSI head coach Randy Rogers.
CSI’s old shooting woes popped up again against Snow—for the season, the Golden Eagles shot 39 percent from the field. Against the Badgers, they shot 37 percent. Still, during the regular season, they worked through shooting woes by consistently winning the turnover battle and grabbing more offensive rebounds than their opponent.
Thus, if you aren’t going to shoot the ball well, shoot it more often to compensate.
Against Snow, CSI did both of those things again. It grabbed eight more offensive rebounds than the Badgers, and despite turning it over 17 times, it forced 22 turnovers on the defensive end. The Golden Eagles took 15 more shots than their opponent, but also allowed their opponent to shoot 48 percent from the field in the process.
“We struggled from the perimeter today. I think we felt the pressure a little bit, being the team that was supposed to win this game. The Snow kids were able to play loose. We let them hang around and take the lead, and we couldn’t get it back,” said Rogers.
CSI led by two at halftime and by four after three quarters. Between 6:51 remaining in the second quarter, and 3:03 in the fourth, CSI trailed for a total of 15 seconds. When do-everything sophomore and Co-Region 18 Player of the Year Brianna Osorio fouled out with 5:20 left to play, the tide turned on CSI.
Osorio finished with 18 points and five steals, but also eight turnovers. Freshman forward Tiena Afu recorded her 11th double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and sophomore forward Ariel Augustine added 13 points and six rebounds.
The rest of the Golden Eagles contributed just nine points on 3-for-18 shooting. CSI desperately missed freshman offensive spark plug Jane Nelson, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
“Jane is a hustle kid and a great defender. We needed someone to come in and make up those minutes and points. Tonight that didn’t happen. When Brianna got in foul trouble, we didn’t have that,” said Rogers.
The loss ends CSI’s season will end with a record of 20-11 and 11-6 in conference. It also snaps a streak of four consecutive Region 18 championships.
“It’s a weird feeling. It’s been a while since we’ve had this feeling this early in the tournament,” said Rogers. “But we regroup and we get back to recruiting and we reevaluate. That’s all we can do.”