The Lady Bulldogs smash their latest opposition in the form of the Seattle STORM, their undefeated streak growing to nine in a row. Playing before the men’s team on the evening of January 19th, the women’s basketball division at BC proved once again why they are more than ready to become NWAACC champions.
First half: More commonly known as the warm-up half. Teams feel each other out without making too many great plays until they better understand their opponent. This certainly was not the case for the Bulldogs as a quick possession of the ball resulted in the first basket; then the second and third and fourth.
Within the first ten minutes, the Lady Bulldogs are already at twice the score of their opponents at twenty four points while the STORM were stuck at ten. Surgically precise plays from bulldogs were executed neatly and swiftly as the STORM struggled to find a viable strategy. Numbers 23 and 25, DenHartog and Sutherland, guarded the rims, catching rebounds and going for the easy alleys. Number 3, Shannon, leads the charges as she agilely maneuvers through the STORM defense. And number 22, Kelsey Sparks, seemed to possess a good balance of all on-court skills from defense to offense.
Fast forward to 4:20 left on the clock and Shoecraft is substituted by 24, Francis. This is where the play of the night happens. Francis coolly takes her time going up to the three point line where a STORM player immediately blocks her. Francis shoots the ball and the STORM player jumps back and goes for the rebound.
But wait, Francis’s feet never left ground and the ball never left her hands. No travel and no fake shot could be called as Francis went for the easy three and hits it. The crowd goes wild on the brilliant feint.
First half ends and the teams take a fifteen minute break with BC leading, 37-14.
Half time talk: The confused STORM took many chances with wild three point shots during the first half; many of which did not pay off and the taller Sutherland and DenHartog easily grabbed the rebounds. But the STORM should be given where credit is due; they put up and very persistent defense.
The difference in defense is readily observable. The BC defense stuck to their side of the court and guarded it at close quarters where the STORM had no problem leaving one or even two ladies to guard on the further side of the court and one guard in the center. The flaw is, smaller players like Shannon were able to charge through the less enclosed defense and get the layup.
Second half: Thirty seconds in and DenHartog scores the first basket. It would be nearly three minutes into the second half before the STORM makes their first basket; a free throw by number 44.
The Bulldogs stick to their original strategy. The STORM substitutes do no better than the starting members. With six minutes down, the score is 45-18 as BC calls for a timeout.
We did not get to see too many charges from Shannon this half. The STORM defense have finally learned to close up the gaps between them.
Sparks and Sutherland and number 32, Sanda Milovic, are putting team on their backs; scoring a majority of charge shots and bringing in the rebounds. Sparks may not be the tallest player on the court but she has the leap that made her recovery ability excellent.
The consistent chants of, “Defense! Defense!” from the Seattle camp does not enhance the STORM performance.
In the final minutes, Seattle feels the pressure mounting. A foul is committed on BC’s Francis and Seattle calls for a timeout before she is allowed to take her shots. In the last thirty seconds of the game, three fouls were called consecutively; two on STORM and one on the Bulldogs.
Sparks makes the last shot of the game, a free throw, before the buzzer sounded. The Lady Bulldogs win, 62-36.
VIP: Number 32, Sanda Milovic who scores seventeen points this game.
After the game, I had some quick questions for Head Coach Hermanson who graciously shared his expertise for the BC readers.
Me: What do you see as the team’s biggest obstacle this season?
Coach: Consistent effort. I want the team to play just as hard throughout the game as they do in the beginning.
Me: Who do you believe is the big dog on the team (in the context of the player who exhibits the most skill)?
Coach: Kelly Sutherland.
Me: How does coaching a team help you as a person?
Coach: Helps me develop patience.
Me: So are we going all the way this year?
Coach: We do have an opportunity to win. If we overcome our obstacles, then we will have a good chance at the division.
Me: Anything else you want to say to our readers?
Coach: Would love to see more of them down here supporting the team.
So there you have it BC. The Lady Bulldogs play Edmonds on January 29th at 4:00 PM and the gentlemen will engage at 6:00 PM. The games will be televised. Please come on down to the G building and cheer them on. If you are unable to make it, feel free to shout words of encouragement when you see the players on campus.