Lady Braves Show Promise Amidst Up and Down Season
The great Hall of Fame football coach coined the term “You are what your record says you are” and while the UNCP women’s basketball team’s 7-14 overall record and 6-9 record in the conference speaks for itself suggesting that they are an underwhelming team on the year, look closely at the types of games in which they’ve won and lot before casting any premature aspersions.
They have been a team beset with adversity throughout the season and have still managed to remain competitive even in games in which the final score indicates a blowout but in actuality it was a closer contest before the levies broke and the team’s short comings and deficiencies finally gave way.
Their rash of injuries in positions thy were already thin at, their continued woes of trying to find a consistent offense and sometimes the snow ball effect of compounding in game variables have led to some lopsided losses that would suggest mediocrity.
However, through all of this, a young team that is team that is being baptized by fire and forged a crucible of adversity is still showing signs of promise amidst incredibly rough stretches at times. As evident in their 53-44 upset of the nationally ranked North Georgia Night Hawks on Jan.5 and their 21-point beatdown of the GSW Hurricanes 94-73 on Jan.21, they can play with the best of them and put up a bevy of points.
“I tell them all the time, don’t look at records. We’re a possession away from our record being flip flopped in a bunch of games. You are what you are and it starts in practice, what you are that day in practice and then how you bring it to the floor and execute,” said Head Coach John Haskins.
The problem with Braves this season more than anything on offense, defense or who’s out of the lineup has been consistency and the lack there of. They struggle with a Dr. Jekale and Ms. Hyde complex to where it seems to be a toss up or a coin flip on which team is going to step on the court from game to game or even from half to half.
Will it be the team that gave the Night Hawks all they can handle and come out victorious or the team that went into overtime with the Jaguars of Augusta University and handed them just their second win of the season at the time? Who knows? But enough pessimism.
With players coming and going in and out of the lineup, the benefactors of all this shuffling has been the younger players that weren’t necessarily expected to receive a lot of minutes and make the kind of impacts that they have coming onto the season.
When senior forward Deja McCain went down in the home opener and was lost for the season it left a vacuum in the middle of the post that was until recently filled by the interchangeable
tandem of junior Aliyah Farmer and senior Se’Dasia Love, who have filled in admirably in her absence.
However, in recent weeks freshman Danielle Heath has come on really strong for the Braves and could see her minutes grow even more if she keeps it up. In the team’s narrow 58-59 defeat at the hands of the Georgia College Bobcats she scored a game high, season high as well as a new career high when she put up 20 points and was just two rebounds shy of her first double-double of her colligate career.
“The key to successful people is taking advantage of opportunities, and she’s had an opportunity with some injuries with Aliyah getting hurt, to boost her minutes and she’s done a great job,” said Haskins
The cupboards are not bare, and they will come out of this season and head into next season that they are going to a force to be reckoned with if they continue to develop this season and get healed up in the offseason.