Loss to Milwaukee drops women’s hoops to last place in conference
For the Wright State women’s basketball team Saturday afternoon, it was a different day and a different opponent, but still the same result: another loss.
WSU (10-16, 4-9) fell again at the Nutter Center 74-61 to Milwaukee (8-16, 4-8). This time, the Raiders were done in by defensive breakdowns and a wide rebounding disparity.
Milwaukee outrebounded WSU 48-32 for the game, and 26-13 in the second half, leading to 16 second chance points. Panthers forward Sami Tucker collected a game-high 14 rebounds and proved problematic for the Raiders inside for much of the first half. Tucker finished with 18 points.
When WSU wasn’t coming up short in the rebounding department, they were plagued by missed assignments on defense that left them out of position all night. If the Panthers were not being afforded open lanes to the basket, perimeter shooters burned the Raiders. Milwaukee shot 44 percent from distance and 53 percent after halftime.
After the game, Head coach Mike Bradbury pointed to an undersized lineup contributing to some of the Raiders’ rebounding and defensive woes.
“We were having a hard time defending them, so we had to play our smallest lineup,” Bradbury said. “Once we did that, it contributed to the rebounding problem. We were out position to rebound and we were also out of position in how we were supposed to be guarding them.”
Horizon League Player of the Year Kim Demmings was again the standout for WSU on Saturday. Demmings, coming off her first career triple-double against UIC Thursday night, again lit up the box score, finishing with 28 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and 4 steals.
The Raiders struggled to get into an offensive flow during the first half, but Demmings helped close the deficit from 13 to five, and led all scorers at the break with 15 points. Running into the locker room, a fired-up Demmings could be heard yelling to her teammates, “We gotta pick it up!”
WSU seemed to heed the sophomore’s call, eventually regaining the lead with 13:31 left in the game on an Ivory James three. But Milwaukee responded and pushed their advantage to 12 after two Angela Rodriguez threes, causing a frustrated Bradbury to call consecutive timeouts in a 41-second span.
“Tonight was execution,” Bradbury said. “We played hard enough, but we did not execute the game plan. The game plan was to not allow them to shoot threes.”
WSU now faces the possibility of playing the first round of the Horizon League Tournament on the road after slipping to last place in the conference standings behind Cleveland State. The Raiders lost to the Vikings on Feb. 7 and will play their last home game against CSU on March 7. That game could be the final home game of the season for WSU.
With their backs against the wall, Bradbury thinks his resilient bunch will answer.
“We’ll either fight or not, and I think we will,” Bradbury said.