The Ottawa University women’s basketball team has not yet put its game into high gear. The result has been four straight losses to open the season.
The Lady Braves had several defensive breakdowns in their 86-66 loss to Oklahoma Wesleyan Wednesday in the KCAC at Wilson Field House. It was the second straight 20-point loss since opening the season with back-to-back one-point defeats.
Ottawa coach Bruce Tate said the team is still trying to find an identity.
“We have to find out who we are going to be offensively and try to stick to those guns,” Tate said. “I feel at times, everybody is trying to do things on their own.”
He said once the players begin to feed off each other, the shooting percentage will rise. Ottawa shot 33% from the field, which is a bit lower than its 34% on the season.
Ottawa could never get into a good defensive rhythm against Oklahoma Wesleyan, which shot 46% from the field.
“Giving up 86 points is not good,” Tate said. “Their first six can score. The guards can get downhill if we don’t contain penetration or help early in the gaps. Every time we made a run, they made big shots. They made plays and we didn’t. When we got our defense set, we were OK, except on the straight-line drives. They were able to turn the corner and finish those.”
Ottawa is averaging 20 free-throw attempts per game, but only draining 60% from the line. Ottawa hit 18 of 30 from the line.
“Those are momentum-builders and momentum-killers,” Tate said. “We have to finish those.”
Tate said if Ottawa had connected at the free-throw line more in the first half, it would have changed the complexion of the game. Ottawa trailed 47-34 at halftime.
Ottawa paced by Madi McAvoy with 21 points. Avery Lewman netted 10 points and had four assists. Mariah Grizzle had eight points and eight rebounds.
Ottawa (0-4,0-1) plays at 3 p.m. Saturday against Southwestern in Winfield.