OMAHA, NEBRASKA: The Royals traveled to the D.J. Sokol Arena in downtown Omaha for their first matchup against the Nebraska Christian College Sentinels on Tuesday, January 16. After leading by as many as 15 points in the first half, the Royals went into halftime with a 44-35 advantage; they held onto their lead in the second half and beat the Sentinels 70-67.
The Royals scored the first bucket of the game with a jumper from Darielle Evans, and the two teams exchanged baskets for the first six minutes of the game. With four minutes left in the first quarter, the score was tied at 15; the Royals rallied for a 10-1 run to close the quarter and gain a 25-16 advantage. In the second quarter, the Royals built their lead up to 14 points at 30-16. The two teams continued to exchange baskets as the quarter continued; the Sentinels prevented the Royals from pulling away and kept their lead to 9 points. At halftime, the Royals were up 44-35.
The Royals started the third quarter with a 10-2 run to gain a 54-37 advantage, their highest lead of the game. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, the Royals were up 57-43. The Sentinels closed the quarter with an 8-3 run to trim the Royals' lead back down to 9 points at 60-51. In the fourth quarter, the Sentinels chipped away at the Royals' lead; with just over 4 minutes left in the game, the score was tied for the first time since the first quarter at 63. A pair of free throws from Darielle Evans put the Royals back in the lead, and a 3-pointer from Karen Orozco with just over a minute left to play gave the Royals a 5-point advantage. The Sentinels made a lay-up to bring the score to 68-65 with less than thirty seconds left in the game. With less than 10 seconds left in the game, Karen Orozco made two free throws to secure the Royals' lead at 5 points. The Sentinels made a lay-up at the buzzer, leaving the final score at 70-67 and giving the Royals the victory.
The Royals shot 36.9% from the field (24 of 65), 45.8% from the 3-point line (11 of 24), and 64.7% from the free throw line (11 of 17). The Sentinels shot 43.4% from the field (23 of 53), 50% from the 3-point line (9 of 18), and 75% from the free throw line (12 of 16). The Royals had 25 points off turnovers, 14 second-chance points, and 16 points in the paint, while the Sentinels had 5 points off turnovers, 2 second-chance points, and 26 points in the paints. The Royals had 35 rebounds (12 offensive and 23 defensive), 15 assists, and 12 steals, while the Sentinels had 30 rebounds (5 offensive and 25 defensive), 14 assists, and 2 steals.
Two of the Royals contributed double-doubles in the victory over the Sentinels, led by Karen Orozco with a game-high 26 points and 10 assists. Marisa Brown had 14 points and 15 rebounds. Alyssa Strickland and Darielle Evans each contributed 11 points. Strickland also had 4 rebounds and 4 assists, and Evans had 4 steals and 3 rebounds. Tschida Johnson contributed 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Three of the Sentinels scored in double digits, led by Aleita Amparan with 22 points and 7 rebounds. Jessica Hinde had 15 points, and Janice Saulters had 10 points.
UP NEXT: The Royals will travel across Omaha to play the College of St. Mary Flames on Friday, January 19, starting at 6 p.m. Their next home game will be on Saturday, January 20, against Emmaus Bible College at 2 p.m. for their second matchup of the season.
By Loretta Gamboe, SID Staff