Women’s basketball set for home opener

By Frank Gogola

After women’s basketball (0-1) opened its season with a road loss, it returns home and will host Mississippi Valley State (0-2) at 7 p.m. today in search of its first win.

The Huskies were routed, 78-44, in their season opener Friday at Green Bay (1-0), a perennial Horizon League power. They will face a Delta Devilettes team that was similarly blown out in its first two contests to open the 2013-14 season.

The Huskies battled back and forth with the Phoenix in their first game, holding a 14-12 lead about nine minutes into the game. Green Bay closed out the first half on a 31-1 run that virtually sealed the victory.

After being outscored 44-10 in the paint against Green Bay, the Huskies will aim to force Mississippi Valley State into more contested outside jumpers. They will have to pressure the ball, communicate well and cut down on passing lanes to the paint.

“They’re a really athletic, quick team that plays fast,” said head coach Kathi Bennett. “So we really have to contain and keep them in front of us. We’re going to try to really gap a little bit more with our posts to clog up the lane and keep everything in front of us so they’re shooting more contested shots.

“And just with the ball-screen action — they’ll set a lot of ball screens — [we’ll have to] not let them turn the corner, just really gap it up with our defense and really helping toward the ball handler, be pinching gaps and doing our best to keep it out of the lane.”

The Delta Devilettes opened their season by dropping two straight games in the Glass City Tournament. The Villanova Wildcats handed them an 87-53 loss in the opening game Saturday, and the Toledo Rockets rocked them 95-48 Sunday.

Mississippi Valley State couldn’t get its offense going in either game and shot only 39.6 percent (19-of-48) against Villanova and 30.5 percent against Toledo (18-of-59). The Delta Devilettes were outrebounded 39-31 against the Wildcats and 61-32 against the Rockets.

In their first two games, the Delta Devilettes had only one scorer reach double digits: Senior Jasmyne Sanders posted 17 points in the season opener.

“They’re a good team,” Bennett said. “…The scores don’t really indicate how you play in games because a lot can happen down the stretch or in just a segment. I think they’re a team that’s had success before, and I think their youth and the opponent played into it. But they’re a team that has won before, so they’re going to be a very good opponent for us.”

The Huskies are already without redshirt junior guard Lacia Gorman, who ruptured her Achilles tendon during the offseason and will be out the entire season. Redshirt junior forward Jenna Thorp did not play in the preseason game or the season opener against Green Bay due to a back injury. Bennett said a timetable for her return is not known.