The win was much needed for the Eagles’ confidence, because they struggled through the preseason. Since Nov. 8, 2013, the Eagles traveled fairly extensively to multiple tournaments to end the preseason with a 4-10 record.
During the preseason, FRC had bad luck of the draw at tournaments. The Eagles were consistently placed against teams that were ranked in the top 10 of northern California. If anything, it was a learning experience for the Eagles.
“It was really important for us to win this game on a mental level,” commented FRC’s coach, Haley White. “We had talks before the game about using it to get ready for conference. Besides coming out and giving it our all, it was really fun.”
FRC kept control of the ball the entire game. Contributions and steady playing from across the roster ensured the Eagles the win. Within the first 10 minutes of play, FRC took the lead 21-14. Simpson was unable to catch up for the remainder of the game.
Though FRC maintained a lead throughout the game, toward the end of the first half Simpson began catching on to FRC’s defense. Simpson reduced the lead to trail 41-34. FRC switched its defense to zone in the second half and put a stop to Simpson’s comeback attempt.
Summer Dressler and Ashley Hibbard were FRC’s main contributors to the game. Dressler scored 26 points, including six three-pointers. Hibbard scored 14 points, including two three-pointers. Haley Bowen scored 12 points. At the free-throw line, the Eagles went 12 for 14.
“This was the first game that both of them broke out offensively,” said White about Dressler and Hibbard. “It was marvelous. They really pushed strong at the beginning to make it happen.”
Within the first two minutes of the game, Dressler scored eight points. Hibbard scored five within the first five minutes. Both are freshmen and from Nevada.
Dressler, from Reno, was her high school’s go-to player for the last two years. White discovered Dressler on maxpreps.com and recruited her. White’s friend in Las Vegas coached against Hibbard and cued White on to her. Hibbard committed to the Eagles without ever visiting the campus, based solely on faith and trust in White.
The team starts its conference play this week. First, the Eagles will travel to College of the Redwoods on Jan. 8. On Jan. 11, FRC will play its first home conference game against Shasta College. The women’s team will play at 5:30 p.m. and the men will start at 7:30 p.m.