By Eric Butler, Freedom Newspapers
The Portales Lady Rams opened the 2006 Mel Otero Rio Rancho Invite with a 33-24 loss to Los Lunas Thursday afternoon.
Turnovers plagued Portales (1-2) against Los Lunas (3-3), although future Eastern New Mexico University player Clarissa Krum did her part to do in the Lady Rams, too.
Krum finished with 11 points and six rebounds while dishing out four assists. Last year, Krum was a critical player in a loss to Portales in the same tournament.
“I missed two free throws to win last year, but I told myself that’s old history and to just go out there and win,” said Krum, who will move to Portales next year to play college ball for the Zias.
Krum and fellow 6-footer Kameo Pena caused matchup problems for the smaller Portales players inside as the pair of Tigers combined to score 14 of the first 15 points for Los Lunas (3-3).
“I think we could have done a better job of getting it into the big people. But, when we did, it was a problem for them,” Los Lunas coach Brian Smith said.
Portales had difficulty scoring in each of the first three quarters. The Lady Rams, who were led by 15 points from senior guard Briana Hernandez, went more than five minutes into the first period before getting a point and got their first basket of the second quarter just 90 seconds before intermission.
Portales coach Brenda Gomez pointed to her team’s 25 turnovers — 15 in the first half, as the major reason why Portales’ offense was having so many problems operating.
“The (defensive) pressure was the difference and we’ve got to get accustomed to that,” Gomez said. “We’ve got to get confident in our ball-handling.”
Portales plays Onate, a 69-45 loser Thursday to host Rio Rancho, in a 1 p.m. consolation semifinal today.