Parkside’s women’s basketball team opened up the Great Lakes Valley Conference Playoffs against Bellarmine University Saturday afternoon. Coming off of their best regular season conference record in program history, Parkside continued their success with a 69-59 victory at DeSimone Gymnasium.
The game’s opening pace wasn’t too unlike that of a heavyweight-boxing contest. Both sides started slow and methodical, but it was Parkside that really started establishing themselves as the game opened up. Parkside was able to work through Bellarmine’s zone defense early, as well as get second chance opportunities with offensive rebounds.
All in all, Parkside stretched out a lead of nineteen points in the first half. Credit that to a defense that wouldn’t allow Bellarmine too get comfortable early on. As I wrote in my halftime notes: Bellarmine’s three point shooters kept the team in relative shouting distance.
While three pointers aren’t a given, Bellarmine did start the second half fired up. The main factor to Bellarmine’s surge was Parkside’s ineffectiveness on the offensive end to start the half. Parkside was completely cold, and Bellarmine took a nineteen-point deficit and came back as close to one point of Parkside.
“I think it was just the body language, the lack of emotion,” said coach Kenesie. “I don’t know if it was because we were up by so much at halftime or what it was, but no excuses. You have to be able to bury somebody and shut people down.”
With the pressure on, Parkside answered in strong fashion, and began to dictate the tempo on the offensive end. The Parkside scoring effort was very balanced this afternoon, with four players scoring double digits. Brittany Hogen led Parkside with nineteen points, most of which came in her first half performance. Jadee Rooney netted sixteen points, and Brittany Beyer and Amy Selk put up twelve points.
“Maybe this was something that we needed,” stated coach Kenesie. “Got to hope that it is going to be a learning experience and something they can take and learn from as we move forward.”
With the win today, Parkside earns a second round bye in the GLVC Playoffs, and will next play in a semi-final contest on Saturday March 5th in St. Louis, Missouri.
“We’re fortunate enough to have this bye that other teams aren’t going to have,” said coach Kenesie. “Hopefully we can use that our advantage.”