Author: Jack Ridenour
Basketball season is back, and the women’s team continued their winning ways in the first game of the season. On Tuesday November 15, the Cougars defeated the Franciscan University Barons from Steubenville, Ohio by a score of 71-58. The Cougars were led by sophomore guard Katie Sieg with 12 points; junior guard Megan Sieg and sophomore guard Ashley McClain each scored 11 points.
The team started off the game slow, only leading by five in the first quarter. They turned things around quickly in the second half, by only allowing the Barons to score 8 points. The Cougars entered halftime leading 39-21.
The Barons bounced back from the first half by shooting 68 percent from the field for the second half, compared to the Cougars shooting only 46 percent. Although the Barons outscored the Cougars in the second half, the Cougars defense and relentless style of play brought them to victory.
The Cougars’ chemistry was a key factor in their victory. “I think we ran our plays really well,” said sophomore shooting guard and Exercise Science major Natalie Knab. “In the scrimmages we didn’t execute our plays as well as we wanted to, so every day at practice it was our goal to focus on knowing our plays. Our hard work paid off because in the game we had a lot of open looks to score and even realized new ways to score within our own offense,” Knab went on to say. Because of the team’s nine returning players, they are able to play more cohesively.
The team has grown in many ways in the last year. “All of our plays and quick hits have a lot of scoring opportunities out of them this year.” said sophomore point guard and Exercise Science major Ashley McClain. “We have a new freshman recruit who is a dominant post player. Unlike last year, we will have the opportunity to play with two post players in at one time, which will help with offense and defense,” McClain said. The addition of new players will bring a new dynamic to the team which will benefit them as they continue to play bigger and better teams. “Our coaching staff has expanded, so we have many more knowledgeable people giving the team input and feedback. In addition, we are an experienced team, with only one freshman and one transfer, which means we are familiar with the system and know what it takes to win tough games,” McClain went on to say.
Although there were a lot of positives on Tuesday, the team still has lots of areas to improve on. “I would say we still need to work on all of us being on the same page,” said Sophomore shooting guard and Education major Lynnae Whitehead. “Our chemistry has grown a lot within the last year. But the new players are still learning our system and trying to get used to it. Once they figure it out, I think we will be very successful this season.”
The team has a strong bond with one another on the court. With their continued growth, they can build off of the successful season they had last year, and have an even better season this year. Once the new players work out the kinks and learn the team’s style of play, the Cougars will be a major threat in the PAC this season.