The women’s basketball team hosted the Evangel Crusaders Monday night at the William Allen White Auditorium. The Hornets raced out to an early lead and never looked back as they dominated en route to a 92-52 home opening win.
“I thought defensively we played really hard,” said Jory Collins, head coach. “I thought we played hard and the effort was there. We have a lot of young people that have never had to play defense before at a level that it is going to take for us to win.”
In the first half, the Hornets grabbed the lead with about 17 minutes remaining. But the team allowed the pesky Crusaders to hang around in the first half with marginal shooting. After a timeout with a little over four minutes to go, the Hornets surged ahead by 16 points to end the half, 41-25. The Hornets shot just 35 percent from the field in the first half.
“We have a really good three point shooting team,” Collins said. “In the first half, we made three of 16 from deep…but I’m really comfortable with our top four or five guards shooting when they are open.”
In the second half, the Hornets looked like a much different team. They made 53 percent of their shots from the field, including four of seven from behind the three point arch. Not only did the Hornets step up their offensive numbers, they also stepped up their defensive intensity as well.
Sophomore Kelsey Balcom had an off night shooting, but she did not allow that to affect her effort on the floor. She lead the team in both rebounds, with 11 total, and assists, with five. The Crusaders struggled to match her intensity.
“I think that it’s important to always go out there and work hard and hustle,” Balcom said. “I think that rebounding is always an effort thing. He (Collins) says that you don’t have to be a good athlete to be a good rebounder, you just have to want the ball.”
Senior guard Heather Robben stepped up her intensity level in the second half as well, forcing a few turnovers and getting a few easy buckets in transition as a result. She led the team with four steals and scored 19 points on the way to winning player of the game.
“It creates a lot more things for our offense, when we play good defense and get transition baskets,” Robben said. “(When we) get to the paint it will create a lot more.”
Overall, the team looked tough in the home opener. Next up, the Hornets will travel to Wichita to play the Newman Jets on at 5:30 p.m. this Friday.