The Ottawa University women’s basketball team needs a win and a good all-around performance before heading home for the holiday break.
The Lady Braves (1-10, 1-7) play another struggling squad Saturday in York, Neb. The Lady Panthers are 1-12 overall and 0-8 in KCAC play.
“We need a great performance,” Ottawa coach Bruce Tate said. “The last thing you want is a struggling team to go home struggling mentally. It will be good to give them a mental break and self-reflect. We have mentally got to get better and stronger.”
Ottawa has not fared well in close games, losing five games by four or fewer points.
Tate said those close games came down to being focused on the moment.
“All our close games, that is really what hurt us,” he said. “They are showing flashes of good team basketball. We have to get consistent at it. You have to stick together. It is tough. We are starting to get our identify back on the defensive end.”
Ottawa has held opponents to 66 points or less in six of their last seven games.
“We are going in the right direction with [defense],” Tate said. “When you hold a team in the 40s and 50s, you expect to win those games. We have not been able to do that.”
Ottawa’s 54-51 loss Wednesday to Tabor was a microcosm of the season. Ottawa had periods of scoring droughts and gave up too many second-chance opportunities. Tabor outscored Ottawa 16-2 in second-chance points.
“The biggest thing they hurt us with was the second-chance opportunities,” Tate said. "We gave them three opportunities on one possession where they took the lead. That is energy plays by them and momentum-killers by us.”
Ottawa’s offense went in the tank in the third quarter after taking a 29-22 lead at halftime.
“We had some good looks at the rim,” Tate said. “They did not fall. We did not settle for threes and I was pleased with that.”
Mariah Grizzle paced Ottawa with 15 points. Liz Vaughn finished with 13 and Madi McAvoy netted 11.