Missed layups and free throws, and a barrage of second-half 3-pointers by McNair culminated in a 57-48 non-league loss for host Sierra on Monday.
Both teams shot poorly at the outset — the score was 2-2 with 2:30 left in the first quarter — but Kalysa Phanhsavang and the rest of the Eagles (4-3) of Stockton would eventually find their shooting touch. The sophomore point guard drained four of her team’s eight 3-pointers and finished with 24 points, five rebounds, six assists, four steals and five blocks.
McNair drained six 3s in the third, making up the bulk of its 20 points in the quarter. Sierra (2-2) trailed 44-34 going into the fourth and by as much as 13 yet managed to stay in the ballgame. An 8-0 burst got the Timberwolves to within five, 49-44, but a series of turnovers stunted their comeback attempt.
“McNair is a good team,” Sierra coach Rudy Valencia said. “They have some really good ball handlers, and they knocked down some big shots. We had a couple that didn’t fall for us. It was just one of those games.
“I think the girls played really tough. I’m proud of them for playing all the way to the final buzzer. It’s early in the season and there’s a lot of these we have to work on, so these games are good for us. Tough games like this are good.”
Emma Gilmore registered a team-high nine points for Sierra, who had 10 different scorers. Abigail Chapman collected 21 rebounds to go with her eight points. Macey Allen added seven points, five rebounds and four steals.
The taller T-wolves were unable capitalize on their height advantage. They outrebounded McNair by an overwhelming margin, 60-31, but were off the mark on many short-range attempts. At one point in the opening quarter, Sierra grabbed seven offensive rebounds in a single possession and had nothing to show for it, ending the sequence with two missed free throws. Overall, the Timberwolves made just nine of 21 from the stripe, while the Eagles shot 9-for-15.
Lanisha Allen contributed 14 points, six rebounds and four steals for McNair. Freshman Anjulie Navarro had 10 points, five boards and three steals.
Valencia is in his fifth year with Sierra’s program and first as its head coach. He believes the team’s effort will pay off this season. Up next for the Timberwolves is a trip to Sonora today.
“We have some really good unity, and we work hard every day in practice,” Valencia said. “We seem to be jelling really well. I think it’s only a matter of time that we start seeing that translate into wins. I think we’re on track. We’re pushing forward.”