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Sophomores settle in for Lady Cats

Jessica Russell slips past Roxanne Luera for layup last week during Clovis’ practice. Russell is one of four sophomores playing a prominent role for the Lady Wildcats. CNJ staff photo by Eric Kluth.

Rick White

It took a while for sophomores Tori Quintana and Brittany Blackmon to find their comfort zone in last week’s season-opener.

Quintana was having trouble finding her shooting range. Blackmon was battling a serious case of first-game jitters.

Both regrouped in time to play pivotal roles in the Lady Wildcats’ 59-43 win at Lovington.

Quintana, a 5-foot-6 point guard, scored 11 of her game-high 17 points after intermission, including a trio of 3-pointers, as Clovis pulled away midway through the third quarter.

Quintana said she never lost confidence in her shot.

“They just weren’t falling,” said Quintana, who was called up to the varsity late last season. “I think I wasn’t using my legs.”

Blackmon, a 5-8 post, finished with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.

“I was really nervous. I had butterflies,” Blackmon said after Monday’s practice. “In the second half, the butterflies were all gone.”

Blackmon was also impressive on defense. Because of Lovington’s four-guard lineup, Blackmon was matched up against a guard, a new role for her.

“She did a great job,” Clovis coach Miles Watters said. “She allows us to do more things when she can go out and defend on the perimeter.”

“I just tried to stay low and stay in front of her,” said Blackmon, who takes as much pleasure in playing defense as she does scoring.

The Lady Wildcats return to actionat 5 p.m. tonight against Hereford.

The Lady Whitefaces are off to a 2-0 start.

“They play real solid man-to-man defense,” Watters said. “We have to be able to handle their pressure.”

Turnovers were the biggest cause for concern against Lovington.

“We had a lot of turnovers in the game,” Quintana said. “We need to slow it down a little.”