CHADRON – Chadron State’s Rachael Smidt scored a career-high 16 points and Kaitlin Petri and Kada Williams combined to score 26 en route to the Eagles’ 64-60 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory over visiting New Mexico Highlands Friday.
With the win, Chadron State improves to 3-11 overall and 3-7 in the RMAC, while Highlands falls to 8-7 and 4-7. The Eagles will host Western New Mexico (0-14, 0-10 RMAC) Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
While the Eagles’ offense certainly provided some punch, their defense against Highlands’ leading scorer was just as important. Highlands’ Alyssa Lopez entered the game averaging 19 points, but CSC, particularly the efforts of Marla Munsen and Kada Williams, held her scoreless in 29 minutes of action.
Despite Chadron State’s stellar defense, the Cowgirls still owned a 45-39 lead midway through the second half once China Smith hit a free throw. However, the Eagles quickly responded and took the lead with an 8-point scoring burst keyed by five points from Rachael Smidt.
CSC kept the Cowgirls at bay for the rest of the game but Highlands made things interesting when it tied things up at 58-58 after a pair of free throws from Smith. Smidt made her presence felt again for the Eagles when she scored after grabbing an offensive board with 43 seconds left that put them up for good.
After a turnover and a missed shot, Williams and Munsen calmly sank free throws to seal the win.
Smidt’s career-high night paced the Eagles but she received plenty of help. Petri scored 14 points and added five rebounds and five blocks and Williams scored 12 points.
Tanee Denson-Griffin led Highlands with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
CSC 29 35 – 64
NMH 24 36 – 60
—Alex Helmbrecht, Sports Information Director