The UW-Parkside Rangers kicked off their home basketball schedule Saturday afternoon, and started with a bang from the women’s basketball team. The Rangers played against the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears, who play in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, and won in front of an electric DeSimone Gymnasium, 77-74.
“Every game you’ve got to be ready to play. That was apparent today,” cited Parkside’s Women’s Basketball head coach Jenny Kenesie. “It’s so early in the year that we haven’t established who we are yet, and other teams haven’t either.”
The Rangers enter this game having played three straight exhibition games on the road against NCAA Division I programs: Purdue, Marquette, and Northern Illinois. The lone win of the three was their last contest against the Huskies of Northern Illinois, 69-63. As for visiting Concordia-St. Paul, the Golden Bears were ranked just outside of the nation’s Top 25 and are coming in off of a 26-6 season.
The game started with a deep three pointer from Maurika Hickman of the Golden Bears. The Golden Bears were not afraid to shoot deep, and they ended the game going 4-19 from beyond the arch. However, the biggest issue the Golden Bears posed to the Rangers was not their three point shooting; it was their speed. The Rangers allowed the Golden Bears to pick up ten offensive rebounds in the first half alone, and that helped contribute to fourteen second chance points.
“We wanted to be able to score baskets and sprint back to get into our defense, so we could slow them down a little bit,” said head coach Kenesie. “For the most part, I thought we did a pretty good job of that. [Concordia-St. Paul] is a good team. They’re a Sweet Sixteen team from last year, so we had our work cut out for us. I’m proud of our girls for hanging in there and getting the victory.”
Parkside was not entirely fazed by Concordia-St. Paul’s speed. The Rangers were very methodical on offense by opening up shooting lanes from great passes around the floor and milking the shot clock. This rhythm by the Rangers gave them sixty-two percent field goal percentage in the first, opposed to the Golden Bears sub-forty percentage.
This game stayed close from start to finish. With three minutes left in the first half, the game was tied 31-31. With three minutes left in the second half, it was tied 68-68. The game swung open for the Rangers after a four point play after an offensive rebound from a Parkside free throw by Kristen Ruchti, who put in the rebound while being fouled. The Rangers were down four points at the time, and surged from this moment.
There were many stars of the game for the Rangers, such as Brittany Beyer and Amy Selk. Beyer, a junior forward, scored a team high twenty points, picked up three assists, and one block to boot. Amy Selk, also a junior forward, scored eleven points, including the crucial mid range jumper in the final minute of the game that sealed the deal for the Rangers.
“I thought it was really a great team effort,” noted head coach Kenesie. “The first half we shared the ball so well. Our kids committed on the defensive end, and took a lot more pride in the second half, and that made a huge difference.”
It is worth noting that there was an injury for the Parkside Rangers in the game. Midway through the second half, junior shooting guard Jadee Rooney came down on another player’s foot and sprained her ankle. It is unknown what the timetable will be, but, that said, everyone is relieved that it is just a sprain.
The Rangers’ next games will take place this coming weekend against Indiana Northwest, on Friday at 5:30pm, and then Wayne State at 1pm on Sunday.