Women’s hoops looks to rebound from Cleveland State loss

Andrew Smith, Contributing Writer

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For the second time in as many games, the same Wright State women’s basketball team that showed up in the first half failed to make it out of the locker room for the second half.

WSU (10-12, 4-5) built a 14-point lead at halftime and led by as much as 19, but watched Cleveland State (11-10, 3-5) roar back in final 20 minutes. The Vikings outscored the Raiders 45-26 and pulled out a 68-63 win in Cleveland Thursday night.

With 23 seconds left in the game and the Raiders trailing 65-61, WSU forward Breanna Stucke followed up a missed Kim Demmings three-pointer and drew a foul from CSU forward Imani Gordon. Stucke missed the ensuing free throw, and WSU was unable to close the deficit as time ran out.

“They really stepped up their pressure defensively, and we didn’t handle it very well,” Bradbury said.

During the first half of Thursday’s game, the Raiders were able to exploit the Vikings’ man-to-man defense. WSU shot 50% from the field and 35% on three-point shots. Junior Ivory James led all scorers with 15 points and Demmings, who appeared crisp after returning from an ankle injury, added 11 points and played the entire game.

Head coach Mike Bradbury said Demmings looked “fine” and “played at about 80 percent.”

CSU came out of the locker room playing zone defense and the effects were noticeable. The Vikings defensive adjustments limited James and Demmings to a combined 14 points in the second half.

WSU also went cold from distance in the second half, hitting only six of 24 three-pointers and attempting only one free throw. In total, the Raiders shot twice as many threes (38) as shots inside the arc (19). Despite the statistical disparity between the two teams, Bradbury believes the Raiders were left with few alternatives.

“We don’t have anybody to throw it to inside,” Bradbury said. That’s just what it’s going to be. That’s kind of the makeup of our team right now. What everybody has been doing lately is playing zone and they just stand in the lane. They dare you to shoot a three and they don’t let you drive it. So they basically give you no option but to do that.”

In addition to its struggles with three-point shooting, WSU was also held to a significant disadvantage at the free-throw line. The Vikings lived at the foul line, hitting 21 of 26, while WSU made only six of their seven attempts for the game.

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