For the second straight game, the Emporia State women’s basketball team did not allow a double-digit scorer as they defeated Truman State, 75-55. Four Hornets ended up in double figures, including high scorer and senior guard Cassondra Boston with 17 points.
“We had a lot of players that were able to drive on their players, and we took advantage of that and opened up the floor,” Boston said. “People made really good plays tonight, good decisions.”
The Hornets were well met by the Bulldogs early on, even trailing Truman by as much as six with 8:07 left to play, until ESU went on a 17-4 drive to end the first half, leading 39-29.
Boston said that the team’s lapse in defense was the cause of TSU’s short lead.
“I think we just realized we needed to pick it up on the defensive end,” Boston said. “We were letting them score a little bit too easily, and we started to get a little more stingy on defense and get after those loose balls and just play a lot better defense on them.”
Emporia State Head Coach Brandon Schneider was also witness to the Hornets’ defensive collapse.
“I thought we played on our heels a little bit,” Schneider said. “I felt like we played a little
bit like we were the underdog early and didn’t play with the kind of aggression on both ends of the floor that we needed to. Once we start playing a little bit better defense, I thought that helped us get in a better flow.”
The second half proved to be more fruitful for the Hornets as the team turned it up on both offense and defense and never really allowed the Bulldogs to get the game within reach.
Schneider attributed the team’s success to a slashing, drive-to-the-basket style of play as opposed to the normal high-low game that the team is accustomed to.
“I think a lot of it is people know we’re going to play that way. Typically then, we have to adjust to however their guarding it,” Schneider said. “Tonight, I thought Rachel Hanf really sticks out in particular, really getting in some seams and making some plays. Cassondra (Boston) obviously had a nice game, Sophia (Lenard) made some good plays but I’m probably more excited about how Negesti (Taylor) played than anybody. It’s nice to see her finish some plays and continue to rebound really well.”
Sophomore guard Brittney Miller also said that the team’s approach to the game earned them the victory.
“We do like to dribble-drive,” Miller said. “A lot of our players are good at that, so we try to go to our strengths. It’s been working, but we’re going to keep getting better.”
Miller contributed 14 points for the Hornets, while senior guard Sophia Lenard and Hanf
added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Junior center Negesti Taylor almost had a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Lenard saw some extended action during the contest – action she had been missing out on due to an injury sustained earlier in the season.
“We’re trying to kind of work her (Lenard) into it,” Schneider said. “Prior to us going to the San Francisco trip, it was the first time she really had any extended practice. We left her in there a little bit too long on a couple occasions where she made some mistakes I think just out of fatigue, so we have to be careful with that. We’re trying to work her into the rotation as much as we can.”
Schneider said that he has noticed some marked improvement from the team, in many different facets of the game.
“We’re trying to get better, particularly on the offensive end, and tonight I thought we executed much better,” Schneider said. “It’s good to know that we can go and play two drastically different teams and win a fast paced game and turn around the next day and have them play a really physical, grind-it-out style and know that we can win a game even when we don’t make shots.”