ASHLAND, Ore--- A shooting slump that lasted six quarters came to an end in an explosive 3rd quarter for the Raiders (3-1) against Embry-Riddle (2-1). The combo of Kami Walk and Syd'Nee Fryer helped the Raiders jump to a 21-point lead entering the 4th, and eventually earn a 70-41 win on Wednesday.
It was just the second home game of the season for the Raiders' 2021 campaign. In Southern Oregon's last game, a 74-69 loss to Whitman, SOU shot a measly 6-25 from downtown and 19-62 from the field.
The first half on Wednesday didn't look much different for SOU. The Raiders were 7-25 from the field and 2-13 from downtown. When asked about what needed to be cleaned up, as Southern Oregon entered the half with a 23-20 deficit, SOU head coach Carlotta Kloppenburg-Pruitt voiced the frustration.
"It would be nice if we could make some of our shots." said the first-year SOU coach.
With the help of some aggressive defense and SOU breaking out of the shooting slump, SOU entered the 4th with a 21-point lead.
"The SOS pressure defense, you know? I was born and raised on it," said Kloppenburg-Pruitt. "Now, I am finally able to implement it with a team that buys into it. They play so hard. That helps me, as a coach, to be able to do a defense like this because it is demanding, and its swarming, and you got to play really hard. They do."
SOU came away with 13 steals in the game and forced 22 Embry-Riddle turnovers. Down the stretch, SOU's harassing defense caused Embry-Riddle to shoot just 16-59 from the field and 4-21 from downtown.
The defense was paired by some very efficient play from sophomore forward Kami Walk and senior forward Syd'Nee Fryer. Walk finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Fryer had 14 points and shot a perfect 2-2 from the three-point line.
"Coach has just been hounding us on team defense," said Fryer. "Everything is team defense. So, everything we do is together. I just think it is important to communicate. We work really well together."
Kloppenburg-Pruitt also spoke to SOU's long layover of play. SOU is playing its first games since 2019. The first-year coach said SOU is at its best when it just relaxes instead of letting the anxiousness to play take over.
Southern Oregon will take on Simpson on Saturday, November 20 at 2:00 p.m. That game will be a part of the Oregon Tech Classic in Klamath Falls. SOU and Simpson already played once this year on November 8. SOU won that game, 78-39.