With three games in five days, this weekend will be a test of the lady Falcons intensity and focus.
Opening conference play tomorrow, at home, against Lewis-Clark State, the Falcons will begin their defense of the PacWest title.
L-C State will provide a difficult test for the Falcons defense thanks to the lady Warriors point guard Amanda Campbell, an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American last year. Campbell, who has been scouted by more than one WNBA team, is averaging 16.2 points, 5.6 rebounds per game, and has racked up 28 assists and 17 steals after just five games.
"She is one of the top prospects in Division II, and possibly the nation." SPU women’s basketball coach Gordy Presnell said.
To attempt to contain Campbell, coach Presnell said the Falcons will need to rebound aggressively and protect the ball.
These are two things the lady Falcons have struggled with on occasion this season. Against UC Riverside and UC Davis at the Falcon Tip-Off Classic two weeks ago, they turned the ball over a total of 52 times, and were outrebounded by both Riverside and last weekend’s opponent, San Francisco State.
The Falcons are improving though. Against San Francisco, they trimmed their turnovers back significantly, and they outrebounded conference rival UC Davis 42-39.
The Falcons know what it is going to take to win. "We have to show up and play really aggressive," junior point guard Shauna (Winn) Bland said.
The Falcons obviously know what it takes to win. They are the defending PacWest champions and are off to a great start this year, ranked No. in the nation, with a 4-1 record.
While they are winning their games, sometimes they are not as pretty as they would hope.
Saturday night’s game against San Francisco State was one of those games. The Falcons were outrebounded and turned the ball over 19 times. They shot just 37% from the field and converted only 64% of their free throws. Nevertheless, the Falcons were able to come out on top.
They caused 28 turnovers, 14 directly from steals on the offensive end. They played smart defense by staying out of foul trouble.
"Saturday was a boring game to watch, we didn’t play aggressively enough, but it was a good character win," coach Presnell said. "Shana (Ray) was fouled pretty hard and Liz (Guppy) sprained her ankle, but we played through it."
When they want to, the lady Falcons can be brilliant.
"When we play with intensity and play smart, we can beat anybody," junior forward Jana Holme said.
They dominated UC Davis, last year’s PacWest regional runner-up, in almost every aspect of the game.
Consistency is the key for the Falcons.
"We need to play with intensity every game," Holme said.
The Falcons will try to carry this intensity into this weekend’s homestead. With three games in five days, they will be tested and tried. These are the stretches that define teams. Three wins, two of which would be conference wins, will continue to propel the Falcons to their goal of hanging on to their conference title.
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Title: Lady Falcons pursue consistency | Author: Jeff Richards | Section: Sports | Published Date: 1998-12-02 | Internal ID: 357