COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — The Cloud County Community College women's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday during the final day of the Hampton Inn Reiver Classic, falling 99-54 to Western Nebraska Community College.
Saturday's contest was death by a thousand papercuts for the T-Birds (3-1 overall) as they committed 31 turnovers — they only had 11 in Friday's win over Jefferson College — and were limited to 29 percent shooting (13-of-45).
"All of our deficiencies were exposed (Saturday) and we had a ton of unforced turnovers," said Cloud County head coach, Brett Erkenbrack. "We got ourselves out of sync and really played back on our heels all day… Not to take anything away from Western Nebraska because I think it is a great ballclub and played a very good game, but we inflicted a lot of pain on ourselves."
The T-Birds got off to a sluggish start and behind the 8-ball early as Western Nebraska (2-2 overall) jumped out to a 30-10 lead in the first quarter.
Cloud Count was able to get the Cougars in foul trouble in the first half when it attacked the basketball, shooting 24 of its 38 free throws through the first 20 minutes.
Unfortunately, the turnover bug and 10 missed free throws halted the T-Birds efforts to climb back in the game as they trailed 51-26 at the half.
"When we did take the fight to them, we got a lot of the stuff we wanted on offense," Erkenbrack said. "We got to the line a lot and got a lot of scoring opportunities that we were unable to convert on. And we'd have gotten to the line a few more times if not for the amount of turnovers we had."
While the loss was frustrating, the T-Birds are positive the problems that plagued them Saturday are ones that can be fixed.
"If there is a silver lining to (Saturday's game) is that most, if not all, the things that cost us today are correctable," Erkenbrack said. "I feel like we did a lot of things to ourselves and we're the ones who have to correct it."
Cloud County will look to bounce back when it returns home Monday to host Doane University JV at 6 p.m. inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium.