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Mace & Crown | March 20, 2018

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Rough start for women's basketball: The Lady Monarchs begin the season 0-3

Jazzmyn Bradley | Contributing Writer

To kick off their season, the Lady Monarchs basketball team began competing in the preseason WNIT. First up, in Coach McCray-Penson’s debut, the lady monarchs faced Liberty University at The Ted Constant Center. Coach described the matchup as, “The Tale of Two Halves.” She explained that “In the first half her ladies played at Liberty’s pace and did not settle into their style of play until the second half.” Liberty would emerge victorious in the end with a 63-55 win.

Their second-half play sparked many comebacks as they closed the margin to eight times behind a  65% shooting percentage. There were a few standout performers; Odegua Oibokie was the leading scorer with 14 points, and Ashley Jackson was able to dish out a career-high eight assists. In her freshmen debut, Victoria Morris locked in for 10 points and was efficient from behind the arc shooting 40%. Overall, Coach McCray-Penson was pleased with her squad’s effort as they gave the fans a glimpse of their team potential.

Following their home opener, The Lady Monarchs traveled to George Mason to participate in a consolation game for the WNIT. Plagued by turnovers, ODU fell to The Patriots 66-53. Despite the crushing defeat, Ashley Jackson scored a career-high 18 points; this is her second career milestone of the year through two games. Jackson is definitely on a mission to show the best of her abilities this season.

Coach McCray-Penson passionately expressed, “They had too many extra possessions and scored 21 of their 66 points on second-chance points.” Excessive second-chance points losses combined with numerous turnovers made it difficult for ODU to overcome the deficit. Victoria Morris continued to be efficient on offense with 12 points. Morris and Jackson combined for eight 3-pointers on the night.

The team is beginning to be more consistent offensively; the defensive rebounding is where they lacked and contributed to the loss. They had a quick turnaround as they took on St. Francis in the WNIT Finale. Coach McCray Penson hope that this quick tournament play would help her team learn to turn the page and move on to the next game rather than dwelling on the losses.

In their WNIT finale Saturday afternoon, the Women’s team would fall short against St. Francis 79-68. After shooting 52% from the field in the first quarter St. Francis led ODU 26-8. Coach McCray-Penson believes the quick tournament play did not work in her team’s favor. Instead, they were fatigued. Unfortunately, the Lady Monarchs ended up trailing their opponents by double-digits for the remaining three quarters.

The good news is ODU kept fighting until the end as four players scored in double-digits; three of which were career highs. Victoria Morris once again impressed with a career-high 16 points, while MaKayla Thomas and Taylor Edwards bother scored 14 points. The teams rebounding improved as they out-rebounded their opponent 47-46 but there was still 20 points scored off of Lady Monarch turnovers.

Overall, the Lady Monarchs played fairly well offensively. Players such as Morris were able to score in double-digits on multiple occasions and Jackson emerged as their veteran leader. They fell short time and time again due to turnovers and eventually fatigue. Once the growing pains pass they will begin to see more success. Looking ahead, ODU will face NC State and the 11th ranked Duke. Hopefully, the offensive consistencies will continue, and the costly turnovers will begin to dwindle as the season progresses.