Monday, January 6, 2014

Observations from Some Recent Game Viewing

We've seen some games ...

Game attendance has been plentiful, of late. On occasion, your Hoopscribe will share thoughts about players and teams seen in person.

Here are observations made from some recent viewings ...

- The Rider women's team had its first non-losing season (15-15) in 2012-13 since 1994-95. And, with a 6-7 overall start (2-2 in the MAAC), there might be more of the same ... and, maybe even a little better ... coming this season for head coach Lynn Milligan's squad.

We saw the Broncs play at Siena and earn an impressive 77-63 victory on Dec. 31. In that one, standout senior forward MyNeshia McKenzie had 29 points and eight rebounds. On the year she is averaging 20.5 points and 10.2 rebound and is the conference's only player averaging more than 20 and 10 in those two categories.

I'm not sure any MAAC women's player has ever averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds for a full season. My initial research showed that Rachele Fitz of Marist came close in 2008-09, with 20.5, 9.3 averages.

Close, too, for Siena's Melanie Halker, who averaged 19.3 points and 12.2 rebounds in 1996-97 and 19.8 and 10.3 in 1998-99.

And, for Loyola's Patty Stoffey who averaged 24.0 and 9.8 in the 1994-95 season.

One other good thing on display in Rider's victory at Siena ... some strong play off the bench from Shereen Lightbourne, who had been Rider's MVP as a sophomore in the 2010-11 season and, then, missed every minute of the past two seasons with knee injuries.

- The Rider men played Siena at Albany's Times Union Center on Saturday night and looked nothing like the team that opened MAAC play with a 3-0 record.

The Broncs could do almost nothing right in dropping a 62-47 decision. Rider had scored an average of 88 points per game in its first three league contests.

On Saturday, though, only guard Anthony Myles, who had 21 points, scored more than six points for the Broncs.

Head coach Kevin Baggett was justifiably upset by what he saw from his team.

"Siena was more aggressive and tougher," said Baggett. "They played with a sense of urgency that we didn't have. We actually haven't played well for our last three games and it finally caught up to us.

"We relied too much on perimeter jumpers. Even when we got the ball inside we couldn't make close shots. I'm down on my team right now. We're not playing the right way. If we're not playing the right way then it's an understatement to say that I'm not going to be happy."

- The Manhattan women team put up a tough fight against Siena in a meeting of teams picked near the bottom of the coaches' preseason predictions.

The Jaspers managed to be in a 44-44 tie in their game with the Saints with about 16 minutes remaining.

And, then, Siena went on an impressive 38-14 run after that to earn an 82-58 victory on Manhattan's home court.

The Jaspers played without standout 6-foot-2 freshman post player Kayla Grimme, who missed her fifth straight contest with a foot injury although she is expected back relatively soon.

Without Grimme, Manhattan struggled to contend with Siena's inside game. The Saints outrebounded Manhattan 56-30 in the contest and Siena secured 24 offensive rebounds.

It appeared that Manhattan wore down after about 24 minutes of trying to contend, while height challenged, with Siena's rebounders.

The Saints got double-double production from two players, 6-2 freshman Meghan Donohue (15 points, 12 rebounds) and junior guard Tehresa Coles (14 points, 14 rebounds). Coles, at 5-9, got seven of her rebounds on the offensive end.

No comments: