Rangers Win Home Opener, 89-74

The Women’s Basketball team kicked off their season at home this afternoon with a solid win over Florida Southern, 89-74. The Rangers’ efficient offense, and strong defense, provided for a strong cushion that Florida Southern could never overcome.

Both teams were coming off of 18-10 seasons last year, and, coming off of two exhibition games against NCAA Division I, the Rangers were ready for the pace Florida Southern was going to dish out.

The first half was very balanced on opening offensive chances for both teams. It was a scramble, but that kind of game favors the precision of Parkside. In the first half, Parkside was out shot in the field goal, and three point range, by 23-32 and 14-4. However, Parkside shot for 60.9 percent, compared to Florida Southern’s 40.6 percent. While Parkside only had four three point shots, they made them count by scoring on three of them, while trigger happy Florida Southern went five of fourteen.

“We knew they were going to put up a lot of threes, and we were just mixing things up defensively to make sure we finished every play by boxing out, and not generating a lot of second chance shots,” said Coach Jenny Kenesie after the game, “We did a really good job of that in the second half.”

The Rangers would amass up to a seventeen point lead nearing the end of the first half, but see it start to slowly get reduced. This charge by Florida Southern was nowhere to be found at the start of the second, which saw Parkside shutdown Florida’s offense four straight times while cashing in on each successive opportunity off of it.

“The emphasis at halftime was to play smarter at the defensive end,” said Coach Jenny Kenesie, “We allowed them to get to the free throw line way too many times the first half. Our emphasis was to play smarter defensively, get stops, and have some pride on defense. I thought we did a much better job in the second half.”

The second half saw Parkside’s Amanda Gibson and Jadee Rooney play large roles in the scoring department. Gibson, a senior point guard from Boulder Junction, WI, was battling the whole game against Florida Southern’s flashy Chelsea Johnson.

Chelsea Johnson lead the Florida Southern Moccasins in scoring last season as a sophomore, and lead this game with 25 points. Parkside was able to shut her down throughout most of the first half, only to see her take a huge chomp out of the lead midway through the second half. While Florida’s Chelsea Johnson was able to put up 25 points, she was locked down for the final five minutes of the game.

“We talk about playing one on one,” said Coach Jenny Kenesie, “We do a lot of one on one stuff in practice, and we knew this kid was going to be very talented coming in on the offensive end. It’s about digging deep, having heart on the defensive end, and doing what ever you have to do to get stops.”

Parkside was able to keep a cushion of about ten points consitently in the closing stages of this one, and it barreled down to the 89-74 victory for the Rangers.

“We got off to a good start,” said Coach Jenny Kenesie after the game, “Anytime you can start the season off at home, with a win, it’s extremely important to help build that momentum, and continue it throughout the year.”

The Women’s Basketball team next plays at home against Northern Michigan University on November 28th at 3pm. They will be playing teams outside of the Great Lakes Valley Conference until December 3rd when they host Rockhurst University.

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