The Central Lakes College Raiders women's basketball team better get used to the colors black and blue.
After starting the season against Anoka-Ramsey, one of the best teams in the Minnesota Community College Conference last year, the Raiders played two Division II Iowa teams in a tournament. All those games ended in losses.
Tuesday night against the Fergus Falls Spartans, another top MCCC team, CLC was battered again, losing 86-54.
Raiders coach Dennis Eastman has been down this road before. The previous four seasons, he's watched his teams start slowly, only to see them gain momentum in division play.
"We're going to take our lumps," said Eastman. "I told them I can coach a team through this but I can't coach a broken team. If they start splitting and blaming each other then we're in trouble. I have to teach them more than what they know. The bad thing is that we're finding out what they know during games."
"We're going to take our lumps. I told them I can coach a team through this but I can't coach a broken team. If they start splitting and blaming each other then we're in trouble."
CLC women's coach
What the Raiders knew before the game was they were outmanned. The Spartans had 14 players to the Raiders' eight. Fergus Falls made wholesale substitutions with five rested players.
With that strategy, the Spartans harassed CLC into turnovers for transition buckets.
"We weren't getting rid of the ball quick enough," Eastman said. "For some reason we always want to dribble the ball and they catch up and put the squeeze on us."
CLC kept the game close in the first half, using an 11-0 run, highlighted by two Kaylee Bandemer baskets and a Megan Eastman three-pointer, to take a 28-25 lead. But Fergus Falls scored the half's final seven points to take a 32-28 lead.
The Spartans put the game away early after starting the second half with a 17-2 run. Fergus Falls shot 51 percent in the half to bury the Raiders.
Dennis Eastman was happy with the play of post players Jada Illies and Bandemer. Illies led CLC with 16 points and seven rebounds while Bandemer scored 11 points, while sitting out more than eight minutes due to foul trouble. Megan Eastman finished the game with 12 points and five boards.
"Our inside people shot more and squared up more," Dennis Eastman said. "I need to teach Kaylee when to slash and when to just shoot the ball. In the first couple of games she learned the speed of the game. Now she's gotten over that and is playing better."
CLC's best offensive weapon who was silenced. Sophomore guard Bobbi VanWechel, who was averaging 17.6 points a game, was held to seven.
"Fergus put a girl that was pretty quick on Bobbi and took her out of the game," Dennis Eastman said. "She has to learn that people are going to gun for her. She's just going to have to get her shots in when she can and contribute in other ways."
Fergus Falls 28 58 -- 86
Central Lakes 32 22 -- 54
FERGUS FALLS (86)
Stacy Turchin 3, Janice Ripplinger 1, Jenny Kunkel 11, Jess Holicky 23, Ashley Zahrbock 4, Mandy Wurm 11, Jennifer Quistorff 2, Katie Shaikoski 8, Jessica Hagen 3, Raya Kern 8, Teresa Wevley, 4, Kelli Baumgartner 2, Tammy Kuechle 6. Team totals: FG 32-76 (42.1 percent), FT 17-32 (53.1 percent).
CENTRAL LAKES (54)
Nikki Perlinger 6, Jada Illies 16, Kaylee Bandemer 11, Megan Eastman 12, Bobbi VanWechel 7, Lindsey Finco 2. Team totals: FG 24-57 (42.1 percent), FT 4-11 (36.4 percent). Overall -- CLC 0-4, FF 2-0. Next game: CLC at Anoka-Ramsey 1 p.m. Saturday.
3-point baskets -- CLC 2 (Eastman 2), FF 5. Rebounds -- CLC 32 (Illies 7, Eastman 5), FF 28. Assists -- CLC 9 (Finco 3), FF 15.
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