The women’s basketball team was set for a track meet at DeSimone Gymnasium Wednesday evening, as they faced the Olivet Nazarene Tigers. The Rangers’ competition had been putting up big time numbers coming into this game, but the Rangers were very much up for the challenge on both sides of the ball. Parkside wound up winning by the final score of 102-79.
The Olivet Nazarene Tigers posed as another out of conference match up for the Rangers before the Great Lakes Conference season really opens up in the coming New Year. Olivet Nazarene is an NAIA affiliate that competes out of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (Division I). Thus far, the team is averaging 100.7 points per game, and happens to be a three-point menace. In their match up against Parkside, they came out completely flat.
All in all, this game favored the Rangers quite early. Parkside set off to a 10-2 lead early, and eventually set off to as big as a twenty-three point lead in the first half. The Rangers’ success in the first is down to one huge factor, the lane to the paint was wide open. Of the Rangers’ 53 first half points, 40 points were scored directly in the paint. This is thanks in part to an overly aggressive defense by the Tigers, who went full court press early and never looked back. The Rangers were able to transition well enough and set up odd man rushes on offense, which they capitalized on. They shot for a solid 21/30 in the first half to help distance them from the Tigers.
“It’s good to see some presses,” admitted head coach Jenny Kenesie, “and we’ve actually seen a little bit of press this year so far. It’s good to be able to play against that, because when we get down the stretch, playing against some of the better teams in the league, you are going to see some presses.”
It is worth noting, while the Rangers had their success getting out of the full court press, they did create many miscues against the pressure put up by the Tigers’ defense. Parkside had twenty-one turnovers in the first half, and, fortunately, the Rangers limited the damage from them, only allowing fifteen points off of those turnovers.
“In a game like that, as up and down and crazy as it is, you do expect more turnovers than normal,” noted coach Kenesie. “That was kind of to be expected.”
With that noted, it was clear early on that the Tigers had their own problems on offense. This was a team averaging far greater than what they were producing, but it appeared they were dead set to take threes the whole game. For the first half, the Tigers went 3/21 from beyond the arch, and went 8/36 from the field. I can’t quite say if it was entirely Parkside’s defense as much as it was Olivet’s own over exuberance to run as fast as they could off the inbound to get shots off as quickly as there was a subtle shooting lane opening up. For a team to post as many three pointers as they normally do, it had taken the Tigers nearly fifteen minutes to cash in their first shot from beyond the arch. Basically, it was a shoot your own foot syndrome for the Tigers, who were committed to a three-point game that didn’t show up, and the Rangers defense keeping their rhythm off balance.
The second half saw the Rangers start to separate further, leading by as much as twenty-eight late in the game. The Tigers continued their hockey style line change mentality, sending five fresh players on the court for five exhausted ones, and kept pushing for turnovers through the full court press. If there was anything the Tigers did well in this match up, it was to swarm on defense, and race in transition. In total, the Rangers and Tigers combined for fifty-eight turnovers in the game, and a combined forty-eight points off of those turnovers. It wasn’t the prettiest of games for the Rangers in that regard, especially noting their twenty-six personal fouls in the game, but it was a game where the game plan worked right away, and the team never trailed.
Leading the way for the Rangers in scoring tonight was the Brittany combo of Beyer and Hogen. Brittany Beyer posted a game high twenty-three points, to accompany her seven rebounds and three assists. Brittany Hogen had a double-double in this game. With twenty points and ten rebounds. In total, through Olivet Nazarene’s offensive struggles, the Rangers had sixty-five rebounds in the game.
The Rangers next take to the road against Saginaw Valley State, who will be their last scheduled non-conference opponent. From there, Great Lakes Valley Conference games swing into action, and the Rangers host four straight games: Kentucky Wesleyan, Bellarmine, Saint Joseph’s, and Illinois-Springfeld. Those games take place from January 2nd through the 8th respectively.
“Starting out the conference with a big stretch of home games is definitely an advantage on our end,” admits coach Kenesie. “Hopefully we can take advantage of that.”
On behalf of The Ranger News, I wish all of you the Happiest of Holidays, and a great winter break!