Women’s hoops seeks ‘confidence’

By Frank Gogola

Women’s basketball hopes to find its offensive rhythm when it hits the road for a trio of games over Thanksgiving break.

The Huskies (1-2) take on the Eastern Illinois Panthers (1-3) noon Wednesday at Lantz Arena in Charleston.

They will partake in the Lady Rebel Round-up, playing against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. If they beat the Jackrabbits they will play the winner of the Delaware State Hornets and the Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels 4:30 p.m. Sunday. If they lose to the Jackrabbits they will play the loser of the Hornets and the Rebels 2 p.m. Sunday.

“I just want our players to gain confidence,” said head coach Kathi Bennett. “I think if anybody has watched us offensively we have a lack of confidence right now. We just got to be more aggressive as far as like playing the team game, getting a ball rotation, penetrate, no hesitate, being boss with the ball.”

The Huskies will have the chance to work on their offense, which has averaged 50.7 points per game, when they go up against the Panthers. Eastern Illinois’ defense has allowed 70.8 points per game through four contests.

In their last contest, the Huskies shot 12.5 percent from the field and scored 13 points in the first half Thursday against the Valparaiso Crusaders. In the second half they rebounded for 37 points on 46.9 percent shooting.

Sophomore guard Ally Lehman said the difference in the second half was the Huskies were generating offense from their defense.

“We saw that we had more energy because it came from the defensive end,” Lehman said. “So, we have to start off defensively ready, and that’s where we’re going to get our momentum on the offensive end.”

Offensively, the Panthers have averaged 52.8 points per game. Senior forwards Sabina Oroszova (14.8 points per game) and Amisha Thomas (10.3 points per game) average nearly half of the Panthers’ points.

The Panthers are a team where the guards like to penetrate into the paint and the post players are more 15-foot jump shooters who can also score inside.

“Basically, for us, we’re going to have to play our pack defense and be prepared to protect the paint,” Lehman said.

The Huskies close their Thanksgiving break with two games in the span of nearly 24 hours Saturday and Sunday.

“I think it’s just a quick turnaround,” said redshirt senior guard Danny Pulliam. “We have to take care of our bodies — cold tubs, eat well — and just mentally prepare. I think it’ll be more of a mental preparation for us more so than physical preparation.”