The women’s basketball team won seven out of eight matches played over winter break.
Despite being on a road trip in Las Vegas, Nevada on Dec. 17, head coach Amanda Davied believes the team did not let that distract them from the game against Embry-Riddle. The team beat Embry-Riddle (72-59).
“To be on a trip like that, sometimes you are not sure how your team will react, but I thought we were focused for being in Vegas,” Davied said. “The girls really went with the business mindset, took care of their game stuff, and really played hard and when you play hard a lot of times the shots will go in.”
In the match against St. Edwards on Dec. 18, freshman Megan Scott scored a game-high 15 points. The Gorillas won this match (59-42).
“Megan (Scott) played well that game. She was hitting the boards and making her presence known in the post. She has such great footwork and… really has a knack for finding the ball on rebounds. Her effort in that area is outstanding,” Davied said. “So, things came together for her in that game and we expect her to continue to do that in the future.”
According to Davied, the team put in a lot of effort in the match against Tabor, which they won (80-65).
“We had some pretty balanced scoring in that game and we rotated quite a few players in,” she said. “We didn’t feel like we played our best, but I thought the girls did a great job of competing… I’m proud of the girls for their effort because that was the day we got back after Christmas, so we had one practice and then that game. So that was a great warm up game and luckily we were able to capitalize on it and get a good win.”
The team has been practicing pressure defense, which really showed in the match against Bethel Dec. 31 when the team made a total of 14 steals during the game and won (72-47).
“We have been working on pressure defense and we thought that that was something we really needed to work on, so that game I felt like our pressure really forced them into some turnovers,” Davied said. “Anytime that you can steal from the other team, that’s huge… so I was proud of our girls that were on defense…”
The team continued their winning streak in Jefferson, Missouri when they beat Lincoln (98-68) on Jan. 3.
Jan. 5, the Gorillas lost to Lindenwood (61-81), breaking their 10-game winning streak.
“… We looked a little sluggish and… we have to grow up as far as being on the road and on a road trip… We have to continue to work on that and I think we rebounded well from that loss, but it was a tough one,” Davied said. “That one stung a lot… because I really feel like we are not a 20-point deficit to Lindenwood on a typical day and that seemed to be a bad day for us, but I feel like we learned a lot from that game.”
The Gorillas bounced back from that loss with a victory over Southwest Baptist (88-63) Jan. 9 when Sydney Tracy scored a season high 17 points.
“I was really happy for Sydney Tracy,” Davied said. She finally came into her own on that game and I feel like she really showed what she was capable of doing. She can drive it, shoot the three, she’s a good free throw shooter, and she’s a great defender so I think she can continue to build confidence and get comfortable. She is going to continue to be a great player for us.”
The most recent game was with Central Missouri (76-68) Jan. 12. This was a big win for the Gorillas as Central Missouri was the NCAA Division II national champion last year.
“…We haven’t played really high-level opponents with a lot of veteran kids until Lindenwood and then again with Central Missouri.” Davied said. “The Lindenwood game, like I said, we felt like we really didn’t have our best outing and it stung pretty bad and so I feel like that maybe propelled us a little bit with the Central Missouri game [and] gave us a real sense of what we wanted to try to accomplish and that we really need to be ready for every game. So, I thought the girls did a great job of preparation [and] a great job of being focused and ready to go… Towards the end of the game they made it close, but we responded and made a couple shots, really got a great, great win against a very veteran Central Missouri team. They always do a great job [and] are very well coached, so I think that gave our girls a bit of validity and a lot of confidence moving forward…”
The Gorillas have two upcoming matches with Central Oklahoma (Jan. 17) and Northeastern State (Jan. 19).