Shooting and more shooting. That was how the Ottawa University women’s basketball team prepared for Monday’s game against McPherson
The Lady Braves have had trouble scoring all season, averaging 54 points per game. Ottawa was coming off a season-low 39 points in the loss to Kansas Wesleyan last week.
Ottawa coach Bruce Tate wanted the players to have confidence in their offensive abilities. So, it was shooting drill after shooting drill between Wednesay and Monday. The work paid off. Ottawa shot 40 percent from the field en route to a 71-57 victory over McPherson in Wilson Field House.
“Fll that well — getting that ball going through the net — that is all we focused on,” Tate said. “Seeing the ball go through the net.”
He said they kept track of made shots in each practice segment.
“This was all individual based,” he said. “How many shots are you going to make in this session? Focus on making shots.”
Ottawa’s newly-found confidence produced points, except for the third quarter. Ottawa led 33-28 at halftime, but scored just six points in the third quarter and fell behind 46-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Braves exploded for 32 points in the quarter to pull away for the victory.
“The fourth quarter was awesome,” Tate said. “Great intensity on both ends of the floor. We did a great job of creating some scoring opportunities with our defense. We did a better job of keeping them off the glass in key moments. We executed on the offensive end at the right time. I really emphasized hustle points. We have to find a way to create some offense. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
Tate attempted to keep the players spirits up between the third and fourth quarters and gave them advice.
“We have to control what we can control,” Tate said. “‘You guys are letting outside forces come into our circle and determine how we are playing’. We talked about our defensive philosophy of knowing who is in your area and take away their strengths. We have to get easy baskets. We were not executing in the halfcourt. Can we get some momentum with our defense to get easy looks. We were able to do that.”
Tate preached in practice about making better decisions and shooting higher percentage shots.
“This is a great start to give them that boost of confidence to go from scoring 39 to 71,” Tate said. “We have to get consistent. We have to find different ways to be successful offensively until we put it together. When I evaluate our line-up, I am looking at three consecutive games. We have not done that this [season] or last [season]. We are not a consistent enough.”
Madi McAvoy led Ottawa (3-12, 3-9) with 20 points. Kamryn Collins and Katlyn Hughes tossed in 12 points apiece. Liz Vaughn led Ottawa with six assists and 10 rebounds to go along with four steals and three points.
Ottawa plays Wednesday at Oklahoma Wesleyan.