Give the women's basketball team at Olivet Nazarene credit: the players know what works and stick with it. They fell behind Judson University by 15 points early Tuesday night, got back in the game with an impressive run, then dominated the final 30 minutes or so before winning 105-90 on the road.
Simone Coburn scored 16 points, Lisa Beyer added 11 and Miranda Geever had 10 for the Tigers (2-1), who continue to put up System-worthy numbers. Such as getting off 105 shots (and making 39). Such as hoisting 55 3-pointers (and making 10). Such as snagging 30 of their 61 rebounds off their own misses. Such as forcing 35 turnovers (and getting 25 steals). Such as, finally, putting up 30 more shots than the opponent.
It all leads to another impressive victory for coach Doug Porter and his team. Certainly, the shooting percentages are not where any coach would want (more on this later from the man himself, Coach Porter), but as you know, The System goals never mention "making" shots. It's all about the sheer number, and for now, ONU certainly is accomplishing that. Nice this can happen along with victories, as well.
The Eagles jumped out to a 21-6 lead about 6 minutes into the game before the Tigers stormed back. Danielle Tolbert got inside for a layup and Mallory Adam made a 3, the beginning of what would be 25-9 run that gave ONU the lead, and the margin was eight (52-44) at the break.
Another huge spurt to open the second half -- this one 16-2 in exactly 4 minutes -- essentially put the game away for Coach Porter's bunch. During this span, Judson had seven turnovers and got off only three shots. The score eventually swelled to 95-66, the largest lead for the Tigers.
Beyer added six steals and four assists and point guard Danielle Pipal did her normal routine, filling up the stat sheet with eight points, five steals, four assists and six rebounds. Kim Peek scored 17 points for the Eagles (0-1).
I mentioned we would have some comments from Coach Porter, and here they are. He was nice enough to e-mail me his thoughts on this game and the season so far:
Coach Porter: "As is typical for us early in the season, we shot very poorly, going only 11-50 from the arc! This seems to happen every year. It takes time for players to get comfortable shooting the 3 while playing at the extreme tempo we do. Sometime soon we will get into the rhythm and our 3FG% should jump dramatically. In practices we shoot very well as a team in both shooting and 5 on 0 drills, so I know it’s not just a matter of being bad shooters. Another factor is that early in the season we usually take a lot more bad shots: rushed, off-balance, or with a tight defender. As the season unfolds, we’ll improve in our shot selection.
"Ironically, the system is about creating more shots than the opponent, not necessarily better shots. When you shoot as quickly as we do, there’s a learning curve involved with creating a shot you have a chance to make. So, we tolerate more bad shots than our more 'disciplined' opponent might, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be on balance, in range and in rhythm!
"Regardless, we have always been a much better team in Jan-Feb than we are in Nov-Dec, and I expect this season to be no different, once we get comfortable with the tempo. We refer to this phenomenon as 'the light bulb going on.' We aren’t there yet, but when it happens, we’ll know it."
A huge thanks for him for his response, and good luck to him and the team Thursday night on their trip to Clarke (Iowa) College. Game time is 8 p.m. EST, and I hope to have an update soon.
Also in System action this week, the Jackson (Mich.) Community College Jets coached by Andy Hoaglin went on the road to face the Indiana Tech JV team and lost 96-86. Erika Bullock had 19 points for Jackson CC (1-2), with Alyssa Havens and Caitlyn Owens added 11 apiece.
"We were lethargic off the bus," Hoaglin told the Jackson Citizen-Patriot. "In the second half, our energy level was much better. We got within two, but then we missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and turned the ball over on our next possession. We never got any closer."
Coach Hoaglin and the Jets are at it again Thursday, on the road, against the Davenport University JV team. Good luck and check for how they did.