Lady Wave run Railroaders off the tracks
The Lady Wave can count on one hand the number of close games they’ve had this season, but their 70-12 victory against the Sparks Railroaders wouldn’t take up much room in that hand.
Fallon controlled the boards with relative ease against the Lady Railroaders on Tuesday night and will ride their undefeated record to Truckee today at 6 p.m.
Arguably, the most noticeable aspect of the matchup playing to Fallon’s favor was the sheer difference in height, since the Wave posts scored the majority of their points charging the middle without fear of a stray elbow from a significantly shorter team.
“By the third quarter we decided we wanted to work on the stall, and we definitely saw some things we needed to work on there,” said Fallon coach Anne Smith on the victory. “We needed to work on if we ever got into those situations where we have to stall, so that was one thing I felt like we could improve.”
The Wave broke 40 points before the end of the second quarter after a 3-pointer by Leilani Otuafi, far ahead at 40-4 without much from the Railroaders’ attempt at a man defense.
Sparks Kacie Nicholas and Arivelle Joson provided the speed for their team, quick to retrieve under the net after two baskets in a row by Otuafi and a basket by Megan McCormick.
Nicholas managed the tempo for Sparks but was unable to complete under the net, blocked twice by a high post in McCormick.
Joson was able to pick up where Nicholas couldn’t, scoring the last of three baskets in the quarter.
Soon after, Joson fouled the Wave’s Kaitlyn Hunter in the air, and Hunter’s free throw would cinch the first half with the Wave up 50-5.
The Railroaders had more possessions in the second half but could only stall the Wave’s scoring through delayed passing.
Sparks’ Angelica Hurtado nearly had the first point of the third quarter before Fallon’s Zoey Swisher blocked the shot and retrieved the ball.
Sparks’ Carolina Aguilar stole the ball and ran for a layup after Fallon’s Leta Otuafi missed a shot from the outside, at which point Smith was yelling for her players not to get lazy.
Nonetheless, Leta Otuafi scored the only point of the third quarter with a free throw, stalled by the Railroaders with fewer attempts on the glass and fewer chances for the Wave to set up shots against a team that wouldn’t let go of possession.
The Wave began the fourth quarter miles ahead at 51-5 with no signs of slowing.
Leilani Otuafi broke the tension with the first basket, assisted by Stacy Kalt, followed by baskets by Madison Perazzo and Swisher who saw no resistance charging the center from Sparks’ players equal in stature.
It wasn’t until Leilani Otuafi sunk a 3-pointer that the Railroaders could refocus their man defense to account for the mismatches in height and speed.
Sparks’ guard Rohana Sanad made headway that would’ve been valuable in the first half of the game, shutting down the Wave’s action through the center and forcing Perazzo and the Otuafi sisters to corners for their shots.
The Railroaders’ Giselle Chavez broke through the Wave post for a basket, followed by Joson to trail behind at 60-9 with surprising energy.
In spite of their efforts, after McCormick and Hunter couldn’t be blocked and began to score again, the Wave closed the win at 70-12, their widest margin of the season thus far.
Smith said that the game was good in that her players were able to work on a few mechanical things to use later on, helping prepare them for Truckee tonight.
Smith said she would be looking out for Truckee’s point guard Sidney Maw, whom she said her players were preparing to counter in practice.
Smith also said that Fallon wouldn’t so much focus on changing strategies so much as fine tuning the way they play now.
“We’re just going to keep playing the way we are, and as things occur in the game if we have to make adjustments then we’ll make adjustments as they come,” she said.