If there ever was a roller-coaster season, the Waynesville Lady Tigers a part of one.
After starting the 2012-13 campaign with four consecutive losses, Waynesville has since railed off six wins in nine games, including a near championship in late December's Rolla Tournament.
However, Monday night's contest headed back in the wrong direction as the Lady Tigers fell to a fast-paced Union team, 65-60.
After finishing the first quarter down 10-9, Waynesville struggled against a stifling Union defense, which forced several turnovers that led to easy fast break points. However, Waynesville kept pace for much of the second period before the opponent scored 7 points on three straight forced turnovers to regain the lead at 26-23 with 1:31 left in the half.
Despite a tie and 10 first half lead changes, Union edged Waynesville 32-27 at the break, largely in part to poor play in transition.
"In transition offense we missed a lot of easy buckets," Waynesville coach Brittany Matlock said. "In transition defense we didn't get out and run the floor. Union did a good job of pushing the ball up the floor and attacking the basket."
Union used its fast-paced style to open the third quarter with a 12-6 run to go up 42-33. For the second straight quarter, Waynesville's offense struggled to score easy buckets and allowed Union to rack up 21 points.
Waynesville's freshman forward Kallie Bildner, who scored 34 points in last week's victory over Jefferson City, was held to 9 points Monday.
"[Bildner] did get some open looks under the basket and did her beast going to the boards," Matlock said, before explaining the Lady Tigers' offensive game plan. "We come up with a game plan and we don't have one person that we focus on."
Because of Union foul trouble, Waynesville earned the bonus opportunity early in the fourth quarter. But, as Waynesville clawed back to within 5 points, it was too little too late.
"Clearly there was a spurt where we had four or five turnovers in a row that led to lay-ups for [Union]," Matlock said. "I was proud of the girls; they never quit and fought back."
Junior forward Hannah Bland led her Tigers with 24 points and 6 rebounds, and also contributed pressure on the defensive end.
"She stepped up and did a good job for us, picking up the slack and scoring," Matlock said.
Waynesville dropped to 6-8 overall and will have a chance to edge closer to .500 again Thursday in Lebanon at 6 p.m.
Scoring summary: Waynesville – Bland, jr., 24 points, 6 rebounds; Bildner, fr., 9; Hannah Finger, sr., 9; Jordan Laughlin, jr., 9; Dorothy Adams, sr., 6; Lesley Larson, sr., 3, 5 assists.
Union – B. Coons, 26; A. Coons, 14; Vitt, 9; Brack, 5; Basset, 6; Johnston, 3; Lakebrink, 2.