Caitlan Gannam | Clarion

The Denver women’s basketball squad dropped two Summit League home games this week, falling to South Dakota State University (SDSU) on Wednesday, Jan. 18 and the University of Nebraska Omaha on Saturday, Jan. 21.

DU was looking to put an end to SDSU’s four game winning streak on Wednesday night, but was unable to capitalize. However, after falling to the Jackrabbits in both meetings last season by large margins, Wednesday night’s matchup appeared to be a significant step in the right direction.

The Pioneers took the lead 18-17 midway through the second quarter behind a hot start from freshman guard Lauren Loven (Scottsdale, Arizona), who made a pair of early triples to put SDSU on their heels. However, the Jackrabbits responded with a few threes of their own, which sparked a 14-2 run late in the half.

This would ultimately prove to be the turning point from which Denver could never recover.

Balanced production from the Pios’ guards helped keep the Jackrabbits within striking distance down the stretch.

Loven led a late fourth-quarter charge with nine points and received help from fellow underclassmen sophomore guard Samantha Romanowski (Mountlake Terrace, Washington), who tallied two points and two assists, and freshman guard Briana Johnson (Carson, California), who got in on the action as well with five fourth-quarter points. Their gritty effort would sadly come up just short.

The score at the final buzzer was DU 63, SDSU 72. Loven led the team with another solid performance, scoring 20 points. She did most of her damage from behind the arc, shooting 50 percent on 12 attempts. Junior guard Ciera Morgan (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) led in both the assist (five) and rebound categories (seven).

“Minus that one stretch, it was a ballgame. It’s something that we’ll take into the next game for sure,” said Head Coach Kerry Cremeans.

Denver’s annual Pink Game on Saturday against Omaha was another gritty performance, but again, they were unable to come out on top.

DU was behind the entire first half and entered the break down nine points. Their resilience, however, would kick-in as the second half whistle blew. Loven started off the third quarter with a deep three, and from there, the Pioneers would outscore the Mavericks by nine points, heading into the final quarter even at 57.

For a brief period, Denver held the lead 65-61 after a beautiful baseline triple from senior guard Jacqlyn Poss (Shoreview, Minnesota) and another from the top of the arc by Romanowski, but they would be unable to hang on.

With a dazzling field goal percentage of 63.6 percent in the fourth quarter, Omaha took control. The final score would read DU 73, Omaha 82. Once again, Denver showed incredible poise and determination in the loss.

Poss would lead the team in points with 21, Morgan in the assist category with five and redshirt sophomore forward Jahla Osborn (Safford, Virginia) led in rebounds, snagging nine.

“To see some post presence inside and score from the outside as well… that’s definitely a positive for us on the offensive end,” said Cremeans.

The team now has an overall record of 4-16 and is 1-6 in Summit League contests.

Their next game is on the road versus Oral Roberts on Jan. 25.