That makes 81
Lady Titans extend streak to 81. How long can it go on?
If the fifth-ranked Lady Titans learned anything from Saturday's game against the Linn-Benton Roadrunners, it was to stay the course.
The team may not have had much success beyond the three-point line, but a solid defense kept the Roadrunners at bay while the Lady Titans' offense kept at it.
The women (11-2, 1-0 Southern Region) extended their home-game winning streak to 81 when they flattened the Roadrunners 79-37.
For head coach Greg Sheley, the team's performance underscored the need for a bit of focus on shooting before the team plays two consecutive games Friday and Saturday.
"We shot less than 36 percent during the game," Sheley said. "That's not too good."
Regardless of the Lady Titans' shooting percentage, they were able to maintain a comfortable lead for the majority of the game.
A stellar defense held the Roadrunners to only 11 points in the first half.
"But you can't have everything all the time," Sheley said.
Part of the Lady Titans' performance on Saturday can be attributed to the home-court attitude they took before the game began.
"We cannot and refuse to lose at home," sophomore forward Ashley Smith said. "This is our court."
Ashley Smith, who is the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges' leading scorer, led the Lady Titans in scoring with 33 points and added 15 rebounds.
Sophomore guard MaKenzie Ficek added 12 points of her own.
The Lady Titans kept shooting from behind the three-point line for much of the game, a strategy that didn't reap as many benefits as Sheley and the women had hoped. LCC finished with shooting 27 percent from deep for the game.
Linn-Benton (2-9,0-1) targeted Ashley Smith for much of the game, sending her to the free throw line on seven different occasions. She went 9-for-14 on free throws.
The Titan defense worked seamlessly in the first half holding Linn-Benton to only four field goals, making the score 40-11 at the half.
Eight seconds before the end of the first half, sophomore point guard Susan Smith was pulled off the court after re-aggravating her ankle injury on an attempted rebound.
The Lady Titan defense effort came out flat in the second half, allowing the Roadrunners to score more than double its first half output.
"We came out a bit tired and maybe a bit overconfident," Ashley Smith said in regards to the team's second half effort.
Nevertheless, the women were able to maintain a fair lead for much of the second half, sinking another 39 points before the second buzzer.
This was the Lady Titans' first opportunity to defend their home game winning streak, a national record for college basketball.
The Lady Titans cap off the week with back-to-back games, one on the road and one at home on Friday and Saturday.
"It'll be a test for us," Sheley said. "We'll find out."
The Lady Titans are confident that they'll do just fine. After all, it's not like they get much time between games during tournaments, Ficek said.
The women hit the road Jan. 14 to face Mt. Hood in Gresham before defending their 81-game winning streak at home against the Portland Panthers Jan. 15.