Monday, November 1, 2010

Scrimmages go well for Olivet Nazarene, Glenville State

The start of hoops season for The System (and therefore, me) came last Friday, when the Olivet Nazarene Tigers opened their exhibition schedule against the Ohio Christian University Trailblazers. It wasn't much of a contest, but then again, these early-season games aren't always about competitiveness.

Coach Doug Porter and the Tigers won 111-60, putting up some amazing numbers while feeling out the addition to some new players to the rotation. Ordinarily, when a result is this lopsided, it is difficult to discern any noteworthy facts. Not so with The System, and not so with this game.

First, the obvious. ONU forced 63 turnovers in the game (not a misprint, that's 63 FREAKIN' TURNOVERS!) and finished with 36 steals. I couldn't find a listing for these in the NAIA women's basketball record book - not that they would count, I was looking for a comparison - but those two figures must be near the most ever. Danielle Pipal came through with eight steals to go with her 10 points and six assists, and Danielle Tolbert led the team with 15 points.

None of the 15 players who got some run was out there for more than 14 minutes, and none got less than 12. Pretty special, right? You can see what some coaches refer to The System as the "No Child Left Behind" style of play; everyone gets an opportunity.

Have you noticed that I've given you some stats that, while very interesting, aren't the kind you normally would see highlighted? Nice catch if you saw that, and if you didn't, well, it might not have been as obvious as I thought. On to the traditional numbers, which were anything but in this game:

The Tigers finished 34-for-116 from the field (and still managed 49 free throw attempts!) while making 14 of 79 from beyond the 3-point line. Not impressive numbers, to say the least, but remember, this was the first live contest of the season. Lexie Heinold led the way with 13 attempts from behind the line, and Nikki Dier, Liz Bart and Malory Adam hoisted up 11 3s apiece.

Anyone who has followed this blog and this style of play realizes games often are won and lost on shot differential, and there are two ways to accomplish this: 1) force a lot of turnovers and 2) rebound your own misses. Well, in addition to the 63 turnovers forced by ONU, Coach Porter's bunch grabbed 41 offensive rebounds. This led to a 49-shot difference in the two teams, and when the Trailblazers shot only 34 percent from the field themselves, it pretty much sealed up the deal.

Congrats to Coach Porter and the Tigers, who start the season for real, real, at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday. Good luck to them, as always.

Meanwhile, at NCAA Division II Glenville State, coach Bunky Harkleroad and the Pioneers women's team took on Alice Lloyd College and came out on top 118-88 Saturday. A full box wasn't available, but Coach Harkleroad was kind enough to send me some specifics. Namely:

- The Pioneers finished 40-for-92 from the field, including 15-for-44 on 3s
- They forced 37 turnovers
- They rebounded 45 percent of their misses

All in all, pretty nice for the first outing. As Coach Harkleroad explained in his e-mail, the competition level gets a lot tougher on Tuesday when Glenville State travels to California University of Pennsylvania for another scrimmage. The Vulcans are one of the top D-II programs in the country and are the preseason pick to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship in 2010-11.

We'll check back in on the Pioneers later this week. Hope everything goes well on the Tuesday trip!

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