With just over eight minutes to go in the first half of Haskell Indian Nations University's women's basketball game against Westminster College, things had slowed to a crawl.
The Indians had been stuck on 12 points for over five minutes with the visiting Blue Jays still in the game.
Fast forward five minutes, and those in attendance might swear they were watching a completely different team.
Haskell (5-4) turned on the jets with a devastating scoring barrage in the final eight minutes of the half to cruise to a 68-36 victory Tuesday at Coffin Sports Complex.
"It feels really good right now," HINU senior forward Whitney Warrior said. "We came in early to practice and worked really hard because we wanted to come out strong from the beginning and not have to struggle."
The team's focus paid off as everything seemed to work after the sluggish interlude in the first half. Haskell came alive by turning a 12-6 advantage into a full-on rout with a 28-3 run that finally came to an end with the home team up by 31 at halftime. Haskell made 18 of its final 29 shots in the half after going 2-for-7 to start the game.
The Indians' defense - a smothering full-court press - was as much a factor as their torrid shooting. Westminster was forced into 20 first-half turnovers, including eight Haskell steals, and went an icy 4-for-19 from the field.
"They knew we were going to the basket so they kind of backed off, kind of like a zone," coach Phil Homeratha said of his team's first-half slow-down. "So finally we decided the best way to the basket was going straight to it. And after that we scored, and we able to set up our press. Scoring sets up the press, and everything took off from there."
Haskell's first-half performance was one of its best of the season, and judging by the smiles on the players' faces, it all could be boiled down to chemistry.
"Our chemistry is going great," sophomore Justina George said. "We do a lot of things together, and right now we're really feeding off each other on the court. Now is a good time for it to happen. We've gone through our bad stretches and were really hitting our stride right now."
The victory pushed Haskell above .500 for the first time since Nov. 6 with four games remaining before a three-week break in the schedule.
Next up for the Indians is a Saturday game against Bacone College - a team no Haskell player has beaten - in Muskogee, Okla.
"We've never beat Bacone since I've been here," Warrior said. "So I think we're going to learn a lot from this game. We came in, we played strong, and we're going to have to play hard against Bacone."
Freshman forward Tahni Edmo led all scorers with 17 points, while George added 12. Warrior, junior Kortney Smith and April Johnston each added 10 points, putting all five Haskell starters in double figures.