DeSimone Gym is the hottest ticket in the GLVC right now with both the men’s and women’s basketball teams playing some of the best basketball in school history. Tonight’s victim: Missouri University S&T. The Miners had no shot in either game, with the Rangers playing a suffocating defense, getting out on the run and finishing in transition. Both contests (or lack thereof) were decided by halftime. En route to a definitive win for the men, senior guard Jordan Mach became the school’s all-time leader in three-pointers. The women ran through their opponent by twenty, but the twelfth ranked men’s team was not to be shown up, steamrolling in their game and winning by 24.
The women’s game started out rough, with neither side really able to control possession of the ball for long. When Coach Yorg inserted sophomore guard Brittney Fair into the game, she was the spark plug they needed to get on track. She pushed the ball in transition and caused mayhem on the defensive end, deflecting and stealing passes. Senior guard and forward Gaby Bronson also showed why she was chosen as an All-GLVC player last season, really taking over in the second half by scoring 15 points and turning many possessions that seemed dead into scores for the Rangers. Junior guard and forward Tara Knapstein quietly led the team in scoring with 17 in 17 minutes off the bench. The ball never seemed to stick to a player. The team executed great ball movement throughout the duration of the game, creating open shots each time down the court. Their stifling defense left the Miners intimidated and caused them to miss seemingly routine plays, which allowed the Rangers to capitalize, mainly on fast breaks. Coach Yorg was able to empty the bench in tonight’s game. Amber Bullock and Rani Singh, players who don’t see a lot of time, got the opportunity to show what they have to offer. Singh seemed to out-hustle everyone on multiple possessions and Bullock played solid on defense. This was the women’s twelfth straight win, and they do not seem to be slowing down.
The men’s game started out with both teams struggling to score. Mizzou S&T came out with the pressure early and often, running a full court press to try and speed up the Rangers. This seemingly backfired once the team got their feet underneath them, dominating in transition. The team also ran their sets to perfection, feeding the ball to Pre-season All-American “Ziggy” Riauka, who finished with 12 points on six for nine shooting. I spoke with Coach Reigel after the game and he said that the team always makes Riauka a focal point. “We always want to get him the ball as much as we can inside,” Reigel said. “We definitely had a size advantage inside, so we wanted to make sure he got touches early and our guards did a good job of getting it to him.”
Like Coach Yorg, Coach Reigel was able to clear his bench tonight and he believes this is the best bench he’s had. “This is the best bench we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Yorg said. “One through seventeen, all of our guys can play.” I also spoke with the game’s leading scorer, Jimmy Gavin, about his big game and whether or not they strategically placed him in positions to score or if his instincts direct him. “We’re pretty balanced offensively, so it could be anyone’s night,” Gavin said. “My teammates found me on a couple of good passes and I was just finishing the plays.” But the night belonged to senior guard Jordan Mach, who surpassed the Parkside men’s basketball all-time record for three pointers. I spoke with Mach after the game and naturally, he was excited. “I’m feeling pretty good, it feels good to get it out of the way and I have been blessed to play with teammates over the years that have been able to find me,” said Mach. When asked how supportive his team was, Mach said that they were completely supportive and wanted him to keep shooting, even after he broke the record.
The team is back in DeSimone Gym on Saturday Feb. 14, playing host to Drury University; The women’s game tips off at one, while the men’s game tips at three. Hope to see you there. Go Rangers!