DENVER – Slow starts have plagued the Johnson & Wales women's basketball team through the first month of the 2018-19 campaign, but not this time. Sparked by a pair of early 3-pointers by Salma Oros, the Wildcats put together their highest-scoring opening frame of the season Friday night against visiting Embry-Riddle (Arizona).
The Wildcats (0-5) made their first three shots from the field to take an 8-4 lead before finishing the first quarter with 16 points. Unfortunately it wasn't enough as the visiting Eagles -- an NAIA team out of the California Pacific Conference -- used a strong third stanza to post an 81-48 victory at the Wildcat Center.
Oros (Buckeye, Ariz.) posted a career-high 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting lead JWU. Katey Guzman added 11 points while Shaylee Andreatta and Brianna Bailey had eight points each for coach Bob Kintzel's team.
"We told each other, 'Let's get off the bat, let's get something going for us and have each other's backs,'" Oros said of the strong first quarter. "I'm proud of these girls. They had to step up tonight."
Jenna Knudson (Sterling, Colo.) matched Oros' game-high 15 points to lead the Eagles (7-1), who had a 54-27 advantage on the glass and forced 22 turnovers.
After trailing 22-16 at the end of the first, the Wildcats struggled to find their shot in the second quarter (4-for-14), resulting in a 41-27 halftime deficit. The Eagles outscored the Wildcats 20-7 in the third frame en route to the victory.
JWU now has three days off before playing the first SCAC conference game in program history Tuesday at Colorado College.