Eugene, Ore. – The Titans played a back-and-forth game with visiting Linn-Benton and seemed to have the game locked up with a double-digit fourth quarter lead, but instead had to hang on for a 60-59 victory.
How it happened:
First quarter: It was another slow start for the Titans as the Roadrunners got out to an early nine-point lead in the first 3:53 of the game. The Titans responded with a couple of baskets to cut the deficit to two possessions, but five quick points by Linn-Benton re-established their nine-point lead. Last minute three from Mya Henry and layup from Kalina Rojas made it a six-point deficit at the end of the quarter.
The Titans struggled to a 22.7 percent shooting mark and 1-6 from three. There plus six rebound advantage, one turnover committed and no fouls is what kept them close.
Second quarter: The Titans took a timeout with 4:49 remaining, having only scored five points, though only trailing by six. After conceding a layup out of the timeout, the Titans finished the last 3:28 on a 9-0 run, capped by three points from Madison Ficek. The Titans shooting improved to 46.2 percent and their defense held Linn-Benton to 20 percent shooting, but six turnovers limited their potential in the quarter.
Third quarter: The Titans started the half on a 7-2 run in the first 3:04 to claim their first multi-possession lead of the game, 32-26. The Titans lead didn't last too long, as the Roadrunners responded with a 7-0 run to take a 33-32 lead with 3:38 to go in the quarter. A 6-4 Titan advantage to the end of the quarter maintained their one-point half time lead after three, 38-37.
The Titans defense continued to go work, holding the Roadrunners to 25 percent shooting and 1-8 from three. The Titans had another solid shooting quarter with a 45.5 percent mark, but this time eight fouls made the quarter a 13 all quarter between the teams.
Fourth quarter: After 13 points a piece in the third, both teams combined for 11 points in the first 56 seconds. After the scoring outburst, the Titans would take control with a 13-3 run over the next 4:40 to gain a 12-point lead, 57-45, with 4:13 remaining. With the game seemingly in hand, the Titans allowed a 12-2 run to the 16 second mark with their lead now only two, 59-57. Of the 12 points allowed, 10 of them came from the free throw line. Kendra McAninch made one of two free throws to make it a three-point game, 60-57, with eight seconds left. After poor late game awareness from the Roadrunners produced a layup with one second left, instead of the needed three, the Titans escaped, 60-59.
The Titans had their best offensive quarter with 22 points on 57.1 percent shooting, but their defense allowed their most points (22) and highest field goal percentage (45.5 percent), but the real killer was the 10 fouls that led to 14 free throw attempts, 11 of which the Roadrunners converted.
What stood out:
60 points: tied (vs Wenatchee Valley, Dec. 8) for the fewest points in a win … 36 rebounds: tied (vs Chemeketa, Jan. 22) for the fewest rebounds in a win … 9 offensive rebounds: second fewest in a win (8 vs Simpson JV, Dec. 29); fewest in a win vs an NWAC opponent; 1-3 versus NWAC opponent when grabbing single-digit offensive rebounds … 2 made threes: fewest in a win; second fewest all season (one made in a 65-47 loss vs Lower Columbia Nov. 17).
Who stood out:
Kalina Rojas: 16 points, 10 rebounds, one assists and one steal; 17th double-double, 12th in last 13 games; double figure scoring in all 21 games … Kendra McAninch: 12 points, six assists, three rebounds and one steal … Megan Fossen: 10 points, seven rebounds, one assists and one block … Aolani Talamaivao-Calderon: 10 points and five rebounds … Hailey Stevens: three points, six rebounds and five assists.
What it means: The Titans stay in a tie for second with Clackamas, they hold tie breaker with the head-to-head win on the road. They remain two games behind first place Umpqua.
What's next: The Titans (17-4, 6-2) complete their only back-to-back home game stretch with last place Portland (1-13, 0-8) on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.