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Kendra Baucom

Despite lots of opposition, Chadron State center Kendra Baucom takes the ball to the basket against Colorado Mesa on Friday night. The senior scored 12 points against the Mavs, then tallied 11 and grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds against Western State the next night.

The Chadron State women’s basketball team gave it their best, but couldn’t get a few shots it needed to go through net and lost its first two games of the new year by a total of three points last weekend at home.

Colorado Mesa, which had shot horribly through the first three periods, finally warmed up in the final frame to win Friday night’s game 64-63. Then, Western State hit the last basket to pull out a 59-57 verdict Saturday night after the teams had mostly traded points the entire 40 minutes.

No doubt about, the losses were heart-breaking. Both games were up for grabs from start to finish and slipped away from the Eagles in the closing seconds.

While CSC coach Janet Raymer was tremendously disappointed by the outcomes, she noted lack of effort was not one of the Eagles’ failings. Still, they were nipped at the wire both times.

Chadron State led most of the way in the opener, twice by 10-points. But Mesa senior Erin Reichle, the Mavericks’ leading scorer, finally got untracked to lead her team to the narrow victory.

Reichle made only three of 15 shots from the field through the first three periods, but she kept on firing. She then sank four of eight shots, including three treys, in the final quarter while tallying 11 of her game-high 25 points.

Another senior, 6-foot Ma’ata Epenisa, added 15 points for Mesa. She was not among the Mavs affected by their dismal field goal shooting, but was only one of six from the free throw line. Epenisa was seven of nine from the field, including three consecutive layups in a 57-second stretch late in the third period to whittle Chadron State’s 47-37 margin down to four points.

More dramatics would follow. With Mesa warming up, the Eagles’ last lead was 60-59 with 2:18 to play. Reichle then nailed a long trey and teammate Karina Brandon hit a short jumper to put Mesa ahead 64-60.

Chadron State’s Kalli Feddersen sank a triple from the top of the key with 1:21 left. Unfortunately for the Eagles, those were the game’s last points.

Espenisa was called for an offensive foul with 61 seconds to play, giving CSC possession again. However, the Eagles could not find an open look, and, with the shot clock winding down, were forced to attempt a tough layup. It missed and Brandon snarred the rebound.

The Eagles tried to stop the clock by fouling, but no fouls had been called against them in the period. They hurriedly committed four in a 13-second stint, but Mesa still did not have to shoot free throws and maintained possession. CSC’s Letty Rodriguez finally forced a turnover with 5.7 seconds remaining near the Mesa basket.

After a time out, Chadron got the ball to Feddersen. She drove the length of the court in heavy traffic, but didn’t shoot before the final buzzer blared.

Freshman Taryn Foxen was CSC’s top scorer with 17 points, including three treys in five attempts. Feddersen finished with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double this season. Kendra Baucom and Savannah Weidauer, who alternated at center, added 12 and 10 points, respectively, while combining to hit nine of 12 field goal shots.

For the game, the Eagles shot 40 percent from the field compared to Mesa’s 32.4 percent. CSC also was 14 of 18 from the free throw line and the Mavericks only nine of 18. However, Mesa had just 10 turnovers and the Eagles 21, helping the visitors launch 19 more shots from the field.

Chadron State fought tooth-and-nail to the bitter end again Saturday night, but came up short— by two points this time.

Western State scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to open a 50-43 lead, its largest of the game.

Chadron State rallied to tie the count at 57-57 with 45 seconds left on Feddersen’s jumper.

The Mountaineers got what proved to be the game-winner, when freshman post Katie Dalton sank a short “baby hook” from the right side of the basket with 20 seconds remaining.

Feddersen tried to answer 10 seconds later by driving to the basket, but the shot missed. She might have been fouled, but no call was made. Western grabbed the rebound and ran out the clock.

Most of the stats were as close as the final score. The Eagles tallied 46 points from the field, two more than Western. The Mountaineers were 15-of-19 from at the free throw line and the Eagles were 11-of-16. Both teams finished with 40 rebounds and 20 fouls.

The score was tied 11 times and the lead changed hands 13 times.

Jessie Erickson, a 5-10 freshman, led Western with 18 points. Dalton’s dozen were next.

Feddersen, the subject of special defenses, paced the Eagles with 16 points. Baucom scored 11 and collected a career-high 14 rebounds. Freshman Jessica Harvey added 10 points.

Raymer acknowledged that the razor-thin losses were excruciating, but predicted the Eagles will continue to battle.

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“We have to fight through this, and I know we still have lot of fight left in us,” Raymer said.

Colorado Mesa 64, CSC 63

Colorado Mesa—Erin Reichle 25, Ma’ata Espenisa 15, Jaylyn Duran 10, Tori Catlett 7, Katina Bandon 6, Katrina Chandler 1. Totals: 27-74 (7-33) 9-18 64 points, 42 rebounds, 10 turnovers.

Chadron State—Taryn Foxen 17, Kali Feddersen 15, Kendra Baucom 12, Savannah Weidauer 10, Jessica Harvey 5, Jessica Lovitt 2, Allee Williamson 2. Totals: 22-55 (5-13) 14-18 63 points, 45 rebounds, 21 turnovers.

Colorado Mesa 10 17 19 18 ----64

Chadron State 16 17 17 13 ----63

3-pointers: Mesa—Reichle 5, Duran 2. CSC—Foxen 3, Feddersen 1, Harvey 1.

Western State 59, CSC 57

Western State—Jessie Erickson 18, Katie Dalton 12, Samantha Coleman 9, Jadyn Kanzler 9, Alicia Jimenez 7, Chandler Sturms 4. Totals: 20-57 (4-16) 15-19 59 points, 40 rebounds, 17 turnovers.

Chadron State—Kalli Feddersen 16, Kendra Baucom 11, Jessica Harvey 10, Savannah Weidauer 6, Taryn Foxen 4, Brooke Turek 4, McKenna McClintic 4, Kenzie Brennan 2. Totals: 23-59 (0-7) 11-16 57 points, 40 rebounds, 14 turnovers.

Western State 12 15 18 14 ----59

Chadron State 10 18 15 14 ----57

3-pointers: WSC—Erickson 2, Coleman 1, Jimenez 1.

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