Lady Busters ready for Turkey Classic
Lady Busters ready for Turkey Classic
By ADAM HOLT
As it turns out, 7-0 doesn't necessarily mean "perfect."
Sure, the Garden City Community College women's basketball team is unbeaten. But after a pair of closer-than-comfortable wins on Friday and Saturday in the Dodge City Classic, there's still plenty of room for the No. 14-ranked Lady Broncbusters to improve.
Head coach Alaura Sharp said she talked Monday with point guard Mikell Chinn, who told her that the locker room chatter amounted to this: the Busters needed to work harder in practice this week, in advance of Garden City's Thanksgiving Classic.
"I think that's a sign of maturity and a sign of strength, that they do think that we're better than we played the last couple weekends, and that they do want to turn the corner and play better," Sharp said. "I think that's a really good sign."
Sharp said she wasn't happy with the team's energy in a 69-61 win over Trinidad State (Colo.) on Friday, but was happy with the response in a 76-70 victory over Allen on Saturday. Garden City had a difficult time getting the ball through the hoop against Allen, but hung on and managed to win.
They weren't pretty wins, especially for a team that won its first five games by an average of 35.6 points. But the fact they were tough games was important.
"I think that that adversity really took us a step in the right direction, even though we didn't play great this last weekend," Sharp said. "I say play great, but we just didn't finish plays really well. I think that these close games have been really good for us, and will pay off in the end."
Now, maybe the first real test of the young season comes in the form of No. 16 New Mexico Junior College, at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Perryman Athletic Complex. The Lady Thunderbirds were 5-1 heading into a game vs. Lubbock Christian University's junior varsity on Tuesday night.
Sharp said the Thunderbirds are more of an interior-heavy team, with a number of good post players — something the Busters haven't seen too much of this season.
As a result, Garden City will need to be careful about fouling while on defense. Foul trouble has been the Busters' most consistent issue this season.
"We've actually done a better job," Sharp said of fouling. "But there's some important pieces — keeping Tamara out of foul trouble, keeping Mikell Chinn out of foul trouble. She's been in foul trouble just as many times, if not more, than Tamara Jones has been in foul trouble. Tahlia Pope has gotta stay out of foul trouble. We'll have to be smart, we'll have to play disciplined on the defensive end."
Two players are averaging 10-plus points a game for New Mexico, including 5-foot-11 forward Katharina Muller and guard Stacie Telles.
It's a game Sharp said she thinks the Busters will need to score more than 75 points to win. With four players averaging over 10 points a game, and a team average of 81.3, that's very possible.
Forward Tamara Jones is averaging 20.7 points per game. Shicole Watts averages 15.5 points, while Deni Jacobs (12.8) and Jessica Goble (10.2) give the Busters a number of scoring options.
"I think New Mexico is just as talented as we are," she said. "They are well-coached, they execute very well, they're very tough. Definitely a team that it will be tough if we get down on them. But I believe in us too, that we've tried to put our team through a lot of adversity, and make practices tough, and we feel like we have a little bit of toughness to us, too."
Sharp added that the Busters are "ready" for a game like that, where the teams come in looking evenly matched.
Saturday, it's another shot at Trinidad State, and an opportunity to make up for a game Sharp said, "almost felt like a loss."
"I think that they will feel a little motivated to have a second chance at that team," Sharp said.
Since classes aren't in session for Thanksgiving break, the Busters practiced twice Tuesday and were scheduled for two today. The team will be together on Thursday, with assistant coach Nick Salazar's wife making a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Sharp said with some families in town visiting, there will be around 30 people at the team dinner.
"It's usually a really good time, we've enjoyed it," Sharp said. "This will be the third year that we've done it like this. We're looking forward to it."