In the early going, it appeared the Crowder Lady ‘Riders basketball team would be giving Iowa Western all it could handle in their showdown at Bob Sneller Gymnasium on Wednesday.

In the early going, it appeared the Crowder Lady ‘Riders basketball team would be giving Iowa Western all it could handle in their showdown at Bob Sneller Gymnasium on Wednesday.

But things begin to unravel for the Lady ‘Riders with about 6 minutes remaining in the first half, and pretty soon the wheels fell off as the Lady Reivers cruised to an 84-52 victory.

Crowder fell to 6-11 with the loss.

After briefly leading on three separate occasions in the first half, Crowder tied things up at 15 on a basket by Mariana Silva. The Lady Reivers answered with a 6-0 run and eventually stretched their lead to 24-17 on a 3-pointer by Blair Harding. Crowder would get a basket by Tae’lor Monroe and a pair of free throws from Katie Hughes to draw it within 24-21.

That would be as close as they’d get, however, as the a pair of 3-pointers by Fanni Csutoras and Simone Gillum sparked a run in which Iowa Western outscored Crowder 21-5 to close out the final 6 minutes of the half to take a 45-26 lead into the break.

Like a heavy blow in a boxing match, the Lady ‘Riders appeared dazed from the punch. They tried to respond with four quick points to open the second half, but the Lady Reivers countered with an 18-2 run to make it 63-32. That burst all but ensured the game would be theirs.

“A lot of it goes back to the fact that we’re not in game shape,” Crowder coach Tina Robbins said.

Perhaps the recipe for this game wasn’t necessarily a good one for the Lady ‘Riders. After suffering two losses coming off a long holiday break in which the team struggled with its conditioning, according to Robbins, the team again had to sit and wait as Monday’s game against Seminole was put on hold due to inclement weather this week.

Then on Wednesday the team enjoyed the return of freshman Mariana Silva, who is coming off an injury, but had to lean on her for extended minutes after Ariana Gallegos got into early foul trouble and Thays Barbosa was limited due to illness. In other words, things haven’t been going their way.

“We can make all kinds of excuses,” Robbins said. “The fact it we didn’t play hard. We’re not in game shape and we did not play hard.

“Iowa Western is a good team and we gave up way too many transition points. One of our keys to the game was that we couldn’t give up too many transition points.”

The Lady Reivers received significant contributions from all over the floor, but were led offensively by Abigail Asoro with 20 points, followed by Simone Gillum, Csutoras and Harding with 11 points each, Madison Beagley with 10, Jayla Hobza eight, Jasmine Trimboli seven and Allison Jackson six.

Silva played well after being away from game action for some time, and she led the team with 17 points. Katie Hughes finished with 10 points, while Dorian Briggs added nine, Monroe five, Gallegos four, Courtney Jones three and Tiffany Rhame and Lori Kleier two.

Now riding a losing streak, and with a road game against Mineral Area looming on Saturday, this rough stretch of the season could serve as a gut-check for the Lady ‘Riders. This skid has them starting down plenty of adversity, and they know they’ve got to quickly right the ship if they hope to salvage their season.

“Absolutely. That’s one of the things that we have talked about repeatedly, is that we’ve got to learn to fight through adversity,” Robbins said. “When we get some type of adversity in a game we don’t fight through it, and as a result of that the lead balloons. We haven’t figured out how to fight through that.”

The Lady ‘Riders are in Park Hills, Mo., Saturday at 2 p.m. against Mineral Area before returning home for a game against North Arkansas at 6 p.m. next Tuesday and Three Rivers at 2 p.m. next Saturday.