Women's basketb all ties for second in West
By Donnie Moore - Staff Reporter
The Lady Thunderbird took charge in their last two games, beating at Pierce, 77-75, and Lower Columbia 72-65.
In the Pierce game, Aileen Kaye led both teams in scoring with 20 points and getting five rebounds, eight assists, and five steals.
"In the last couple games, I have been playing at higher level more consistently compared to pre-season," Kaye said.
Kaye was not alone in her dominant performance Nadija Demic had 17 points, Sharon Ajayi added 16 points, and Jasmine Martinez had eight points and eight rebounds.
"In order to be a more successful team we need to focus on rebounding, taking care of the ball, and yet play with a sense of urgency," Kaye said. "From the past few games we have learned that we can compete with anyone in our league when we play with heart."
While the undersized Highline team has long struggled to rebound, being outrebound 46-36, the key to the game was in protecting the ball. The T-Birds had only nine turnovers while their competitors had 20, which led to 23 points for the team.
"Some improvements my team and myself need to get better is just keep working hard in practice. Pushing the person next to us whether it's on defense or offense to simulate game like situations," Highline guard Jahnna-Marie Kahele-Madali said.
As the Lady T-Birds went into the Lower Columbia game, they took control of every quarter never giving up a lead.
This was possible due to Sharon Ajayi scoring 27 points and pulling down 17 rebounds to lead Highline.
"Last game we played lower Columbia. We were up by 13 by the half but let them come back with in the first two minutes of the game, letting them hit open shots. So, we have [to] bring the same intensity that we start off with the entire game to not let it get so close," Kahele-Madali said.
Highline came out strong in the first quarter scoring 32 and lagging in the second only picking up nine points, going into halftime with a 41-28 lead.
For the first time this season, Highline was able to outrebound a team, getting 46 to Lower Columbia's 44.
The win set up the Lady T-Birds to be tied for second in the NWAC West Division at 4-2 and 8-11 on the season.
"In order to win tonight's game offensively I have to constantly be a threat by attacking the paint and hitting my shots. Defensively we have to communicate and box out to keep the guards from crashing down on our bigs," Aileen Kaye said before the game.
They took on a Centralia team that is a game behind them in conference play on Wednesday, with results of last night's game against Centralia not being available at press time. Highline will take on South Puget Sound in Lacey, on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m.