Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Season opens with a bang for System teams all around the land (actually, it's mostly confined to the Midwest)

After typing that headline, I got to thinking -- what is it about the Midwest that seems to spawn System teams? A vast majority of them are centered around the guru of this wonderful style of play, Grinnell men's coach David Arseneault, so perhaps that is why.

Regardless, the season has sprung upon us with two of our favorite teams opening with a pair of victories. And another System squad who we haven't had the opportunity to check in with started off smashingly well, too. I won't waste any more of your time with my musings, on to the games.


The 12th-ranked Tigers, coached by Doug Porter, got going with a 91-75 victory over Ashford University on Saturday in the friendly confines of McHie Arena. Danielle Tolbert, one of the dazzling D's mentioned in our season preview, led the way with 19 points for ONU, with teammates Stephanie Denius and Bridgette Jones adding 11 apiece. Danielle Pipal finished with 10 points.

Before we go any further, we'll go with The Formula stats for the Tigers:

- Attempted 96 shots
- Attempted 58 3-pointers
- Rebounded 35 percent of their misses
- Forced 58 turnovers (nope, not a typo)
- Attempted 30 more shots than Ashford

Looking at those numbers, you would think ONU had an easier time of it. The shooting percent on those 3s (20.7 percent) wasn't as high as Coach Porter would have liked, I'm sure, but all in all, a good effort to start.

And I would be remiss if I didn't give a shoutout to freshman Tai Peachey, who finished with eight points in her collegiate debut. I'm sure she did her coach from Galesburg (Ill.) HS proud, right, Evan Massey?

On Monday night, the Tigers hosted Judson University and cruised to a 125-87 victory thanks to 15 points each from Jaimie Buckman and Taylor Haymes. Liz Bart added 14 and Malory Adam chipped in with 13 for ONU. Anyone else notice those names are completely different from the opener?

Some Formula numbers:

- Attempted 96 shots
- Attempted 66 3-pointers
- Rebounded 39 percent of its misses
- Forced 29 turnovers
- Attempted 20 more shots than Judson

This one really could have gotten out of hand. I caught most of the second half and the Tigers were on the verge of running the Eagles out of McHie Arena. Coach Porter called off the press midway through the final 20 minutes, however, and slowed the pace.

All 18 players on the roster scored for ONU and 11 of them made at least one 3-pointer to set a school record; for the game, those 11 combined to make 27 3s to tie another school mark.

Everyone got at least 7 minutes of run, too.

The Tigers have a tough task Friday, hosting the NAIA Division II runner-up from a season ago, Davenport University. Game time at at McHie Arena is 6 p.m. EST, and I wish Coach Porter and his team the best of luck.


The Jets, a Division II member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, also opened with a pair of Ws, reaching triple figures in both games.

With Jessica Vidalez connecting on six 3-pointers and scoring 22 points, Jackson rolled past Lakeland Community College 113-96 on Sunday. Five other players joined Vidalez in double figures: Davi'elle Thomas (20 points), DaJanae Wilson (15), Stephanie Berreth (12), Kelsey White (11) and Alyssa Havens (10).

Jackson took an amazing 141 shots and finished 19-for-70 from beyond the arc, on its way to attempting 45 more shots than Lakeland. The Jets forced 41 turnovers to push that pace.

Then on Monday, Vidalez again led the way with 28 points in a 109-73 victory over Mott. Thomas had 27 points, followed by White (14) and Tiki Malone (13). The Jets scored 61 points in the first half and finished 19-for-57 on 3-pointers while taking 112 shots.

Mott had 51 turnovers, if you can believe that.

"We played pretty well defensively," Coach Hoaglin told the Jackson Citizen Patriot. "We've got 11 sophomores on this year's team. They understand the pace of the game, and this was one of our better System games."

The Jets are off until Nov. 15, when they hit the road to play the junior varsity team at Davenport University (sound familiar?). I will be rooting for Coach Hoaglin and his team.


This is a new one for us, a team playing in the Sooner Athletic Conference which apparently took The System plunge for this season. I'll attempt to get more background, but for now, we'll simply talk about the Eagles first game.

They took a 26-point lead at the half and then held on to beat Texas Wesleyan 110-94 Saturday, setting an unofficial school record for points in the process.

As some of you know, I can be a bit of a System snob, so the numbers posted by Oklahoma Christian leave me a bit skeptical, but perhaps it was an aberration. Here are the stats:

- Attempted 66 shots
- Attempted 33 3-pointers
- Rebounded 27 percent of its misses
- Forced 22 turnovers
- Attempted 15 FEWER shots than the opponent

Now, part of this might have been the Eagles taking an apparent parade to the free throw line. They finished 37-for-44 for the game, and all those foul shots not only limits the number of field goal attempts, they can ruin the tempo of the game.

Katy Clift certainly seems to get The System. She made 7-of-16 from beyond the arc and scored 25 points, with Roz Hamilton (14), Katy O'Steen (12), Logan McKee (11) and Andee Wayne (10) also getting in double figures.

Oklahoma Christian travels to Waxahachie, Texas, for a two-game tournament beginning Friday night, and we'll check back in to see how it goes. I hope the trip down south of Dallas goes well.

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