Luke Hare, Staff Writer
As league play is approaching its halfway point, the women’s basketball team is looking to change those close games to their side of the win column.
When looking at the record, it could be very deceiving. In league play, five of their six losses have been 10 points or less, with three of those losses being under five points. Yes, the record is nowhere near what the Saints were expecting, but there is still time, and they are more than capable of turning those losses into wins.
“We just need to come out and play a full hard 40 minutes,” said freshman standout Claire Dingus. “We come into every game well prepared. We just need to stick to what’s working in the game and go with it.”
One of the only categories that the Saints are not leading their opponents in is field goal percentage and three pointers made; otherwise, they are leading in most other categories. However, those two are key pieces when seeing how many points can be scored. On the three point line, their opponents have made a combined 120 points more than them. Yes, this is not where all the points come from, but it is a key aspect of the game. Some of this has to do with making more shots or limiting opponents, but either can be done to help their cause. Outside of that, the Saints are dominating the boards in league play with newcomers, Megan Nilsson averaging 5.4 rebounds, and team leading Dingus with 7.7 rebounds per game.
Another key aspect to winning is players stepping up when needed. A great example of this was when Jayla Russ had a career game against Simon Fraser. Russ scored a career high 20 points off the bench, and stepped up for others dealing with foul trouble. This is one of the things that the Saints need in order to win those close games. They don’t need to have players go for career highs every night. They just have to be ready to go when their name is called to help SMU get the win.
One of the most important things that must happen is when they get a lead down the stretch, they must be able to not overreact and keep playing the game that gave them the lead. This is a team that has talent in every aspect of the game. They have dead-eye shooters. They have defensive shut-down players. They have players that can drive on anyone. They also have just as much size in the paint as any other team. This is a team that is right on the verge of turning those losses into wins.
“We just need to stay calm and not get nervous,” said Dingus. “Like I said earlier, we need to stick to the game plane and when we take the lead, we need to not panic. We need to keep the lead and finish the game.”