SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team scored the game’s first 14 points and never looked back, cruising to a 73-47 win over Universidad del Este, Wednesday afternoon, in the Puerto Rico Clasico at Mario Morales Coliseum.
The RedStorm extend their winning streak to three games and improved to 9-6 for the season with the victory.
Head coach David Smalley, who earned the 495th win of his coaching career, substituted early and often as the RedStorm finished the opening stanza with a 16-point lead before twice pushing the advantage to as many as 30 points in the second period.
del Este got no closer than 23 points at any stage of the second half and Rio Grande’s largest lead of the day – 34 points – came after a three-pointer by freshman Cheyenne Scott (Ironton, OH) with 17 seconds remaining in the third quarter made it 65-31.
Fourteen of the 15 players who suited up for Rio played 10 minutes or more in the contest and all but one scored.
Junior Alexis Payne (Deep Water, WV) and sophomore Chelsy Slone (Gallipolis, OH) scored 12 points each to lead the RedStorm, while freshman Laurel Palitto (Wadsworth, OH) finished with 10 points. The totals for Slone and Palitto represented career-high figures.
Freshman Abby Wendel (Portland, IN) added a team-best seven rebounds and three assists in the winning effort for Rio, which won comfortably despite shooting just 26.1 percent (6-for-23) in the second half.
Leilanys Cruz led Universidad del Este with 13 points, while Flor Jones finished with a game-high 10 rebounds.
del Este shot just 23.5 percent for the game (16-for-68) and was outrebounded 50-44.
Rio Grande will return to action on January 4 when Salem (WV) International pays a visit to the Newt Oliver Arena.
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. EST.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.