Coming into Saturday’s game against Augusta University, coach Maurice Smith preached defense and studying film to the Bobcats women’s basketball team.
“In practice, coach stresses defense all the time,” Ta'Asia Wright said. “We got to have good defense in order to win the game, so I guess, going into this game, it was all about our defense and we got away with it.”
The Bobcats jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, leading for 39:24 of the 40 minutes of play. In the first period, the Bobcats outscored the Jaguars 24-8, while dominating the paint with rebounds. Coach Smith said the early energy came from the defense and translated to the rest of the team.
“Defensive stops,” Smith said. “We got good defensive stops, and I thought we got some easy baskets in transition... We were in a good rhythm, but it all stemmed from our defense at the beginning.”
The defense helped let the offense take control of the game. Wright and Smith noted the strength of their offense inside. Working inside early was a key to them breaking out to a 16-point lead.
“That was the goal of the game, to get stop and see if we could get the ball in inside early versus them after we got those stops, so I thought we did a good job pushing the ball, getting the ball ahead, kind of working inside out,” Smith said.
Things began to slip away from the Bobcats in the second period, surrendering 22 points to Augusta, while answering with only 14. They led by only 8 points at the half. Smith said he emphasized going back to their goals in the locker room.
“Our conversation was, ‘Hey, let’s just stick to the goals of the game,’” said Smith, who lauded the efforts of the Jaguars. “We wanted to outplay them with effort. We really wanted to do a good job with our focus.”
Although August scored another 22 points in the third period, the Bobcats made the defensive adjustments in the fourth period, shutting down the Jaguars to win 73-61. Junior Erin Drynan, who scored 20 points and had three blocks in the win, praised her team’s defensive efforts.
“I think we prepared hard for this game and we focus on defense and that’s kind of our main concern is defense, so I think we did well today,” Drynan said.
Even with all the effort put into preparing for the game, Smith put the emphasis on his team’s execution on both sides of the ball.
“It’s really about us,” Smith said. “It’s all about our principles. We will prepare for them as far as what they do, but it’s about our principles defensively and offensively.”
The Bobcats will look to replicate their execution and preparation for their next game against Albany State on Nov. 4 at 6 p.m.