Women’s Basketball: Raiders, Braves open WSU Invite with victories
After having a couple of quiet performances, Wright State’s leading scorer Kim Demmings bounced back in a big way helping the Raiders to a 90-77 win over Gardner-Webb Friday in the Wright State Invitational.
Demmings scored 29 points going 11 of 21 from the field. She added in a team-leading five assists. After having two games in a row where she failed to reach double digits, Demmings said she felt good about her performance Friday.
“Going night in and night out, you know you’re going to stumble across a few where you can’t make every shot,” Demmings said. “You think about defense, I tried to get boards, get as many stops as I can. That also contributes to the team.”
Teammate Ivory James added 20 points.
WSU head coach Mike Bradbury was disappointed in his team’s defensive performance despite forcing 26 turnovers in the contest.
Gardner-Webb shot 55.4 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Raiders 49-26 for the contest.
“Defensively, we were embarrassed,” Bradbury said. “We know we have to be better. Thank God (we forced turnovers) because we couldn’t get a rebound.”
Demmings said she thought the defense relaxed a bit in the second half.
“He [Bradbury] knows we are capable of more,” Demmings said. “We know we are capable of more. When we look at the score sheet and we get relaxed and that is embarrassing.”
The Raiders will face Bradley in the championship round of the Wright State Invitational Saturday afternoon at 4:30.
Wright State relied on forcing turnovers in the first half and its offense in the second half.
“We were good offensively and we were fortunate that we were but defensively, we were terrible and they absolutely whipped us,” Bradbury said.
Wright State held a 43-33 lead at halftime despite only shooting 37.5 percent from the field and being out-rebounded 28-14 by the Bulldogs.
What kept WSU in the contest the early was turnover margin. The Bulldogs had 20 turnovers compared to just two for the Raiders. WSU scored 20 of its 43 first-half points off turnovers.
The Raiders shot 59.3 percent from the field in the second half and slowly pulled away late.
The Raiders have a quick turnaround facing them Saturday taking on Bradley who has shown it can put up points. After seeing Bradley score 87 points on Lipscomb Friday, Bradbury said he is concerned on his team’s response defensively.
Demmings is ready for the challenge of playing on back-to-back nights. The Raiders played three days in a row last month winning two games against RPI top 60 teams.
“We have a lot of effort and we have a lot of talent so we use our talent to our ability and we play really hard,” Demmings said. “If we do that, we’re a top notch team.”
Bradley overcame an eight-point second half deficit to top Lipscomb 87-85 to open the WSU Invitational Friday afternoon.
The Braves were led by guard Michelle Young who scored 25 points in Friday’s contest. Kelly Frings had an impressive night inside for the Braves with 18 rebounds along with 12 points.
Bradley had 12 days off before the WSU Invitational following a 126-55 loss at Missouri.
The game was a seesaw contest throughout, featuring 10 lead changes.
Bradley went up for good with 5:56 left in the match.
Lipscomb tried to rally from a late five-point deficit. Sara Bliss drained a 3-pointer with 50 seconds remaining to make it an 82-80 game. After Bradley’s Kelsey Budd drained two free throws, Lipscomb’s Danay Fothergill hit a 3.
After Budd hit a free throw, Lipscomb had a chance to force overtime or take the lead with 14 seconds left. As Fothergill drove the lane, she had the ball dribble off her leg.
Lipscomb will play Gardner-Webb Saturday at 2 p.m. to kick off the tripleheader of basketball in the Nutter Center.