By Clinton Dick
After being edged in their first two conference games of the season, the Lady Builder basketball team looks to turn things around against the Ottawa Braves at home Dec. 9. It will the team’s first home conference game of the year.
“We need to prepare and play with effort,” said Dave Denly, head women’s basketball coach. “We want to come out with the same energy and focus we have been playing with the past few games.”
Southwestern comes into the game with a 7-4 overall record and are 0-2 in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play. They boast the top ranked scoring offense in the conference and are second in scoring margin. The Builders are currently averaging 76.90 points per game.
The women have also shown success rebounding this season. Tylar Hartfield, senior forward, ranks third in the conference in rebounds per game, averaging 7.9 per game.
“Tylar is the most experienced player we have and I am really excited with her maturity this year,” said Denly. “She is learning how to bring the same level of energy every night.”
Ottawa comes into the game originally ranked fifth in the conference in the preseason polls. They currently have a 3-7 overall record and a 1-1 conference record.
Amber Ramsey, freshman forward, has been a key component in the Brave’s rebounding game, averaging 8.2 rebounds per game.
As a team, Ottawa has struggled offensively, averaging just 59.10 points per game. The Braves have found more success defensively as they are ranked fourth in the conference in field goal percent defense, allowing 37.4 percent of their opponent’s shots to go in.
The game tips off at 6 p.m. in Stewart Field House.
The Lady Builders took a blow to their conference record Saturday night as they fell to the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes 90-84 in overtime.
“We didn’t finish the deal and that is disappointing, but I am proud of the team,” said Denly. “Our team has a lot of character, a lot of toughness and a lot of fight.”
The game was the second KCAC game of the season for both teams and the third consecutive road game for Southwestern.
For the second straight game, the Builders went into the locker rooms at halftime with a slight edge. The women held onto a 41-40 lead over the undefeated Coyotes at halftime.
“We would lose focus for five or six minutes after we had the lead,” said Hartfield. “We can’t do that against good teams or any teams at all.”
Kansas Wesleyan tied the game up at the end of regulation at 77 and sent the game into overtime. The Coyotes dominated the overtime period, outscoring the women 13-7.
Hartfield had her second consecutive double-double, scoring 13 points for the Builders and grabbing 13 rebounds. Brett Bates, junior guard, and Jasmine Manuel, senior forward, led the team in scoring with 15 points each.
“I trust Brett and Jasmine both as players,” said Hartfield. “I know that when it comes crunch time they are going to dig deep and play hard because they want to win.”
The Builder’s success from the three-point line allowed them to stay with Kansas Wesleyan for most of the game as they went 10-21 from beyond the arch. The team struggled at the free-throw line hitting just 58.8 percent of their foul shots.
“We need to shoot free throws better,” said Denly. “Anytime you are in a game with an equal level opponent, it comes down to the little things.”
The Coyotes exceeded at the foul line, hitting 15 of 18. Kansas Wesleyan also had 22 assists compared to the Builders 12.
Clinton Dick is a sophomore majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.