By Sonja Sykes
Now that the Lady Cards Basketball team has played two exhibition games and two regular season games, and hardly been challenged in any of them, the first true test of the season comes Saturday in Cincinnati against Xavier.
The X-Women are ranked No. 22, and narrowly lost to North Carolina at Chapel Hill 73-67. In the game, 6’0″ Ta’Sha Phillips had 23 points and 25 rebounds. She a preseason honorable mention for All American, and will pose a big problem for the Cards in the paint.
The Cards are running smoothly in many facets of the game, but point guard has been a wide-open battle so far. Dez Byrd, a sophomore, has been starting for the Cards, but turnovers and poor shooting from the charity stripe has Walz looking at other players. Tiera Stephens and Becky Burke have seen significant minutes at the position. Walz has commented that it may turn out to be a situation where whoever is open when the ball is tossed in from out of bounds will bring it up the court.
Coachspeak or a real problem? Given the Cards breakneck style of advancing the ball up the court after rebounds, or out of bounds, turnovers are going to happen. So are easy layups, uncontested jumpers and wide open looks at threes. Even though the Lady Cards haven’t seen much full court pressure, because of their quickness how will they respond when a talented team with quality backcourt guards faces them?
Xavier may not be that team, despite the impressive effort against UNC. The Lady Muskies use a three-guard offense, and rotate Jerri Taylor, Tudy Reed, Special Jennings (a candidate for one of the best names in college basketball) and Dee Dee Jernigan out front. They combined for seven of 37 shooting, and 5 of 20 threes against the Tar Heels. They also committed 15 turnovers and had only three steals. Not exactly stats to phone home about.
Saturday may not provide the final answer in the battle for point guard, but it will be interesting to see how the Lady Cards counter the inside force of Phillips. I’ll offer Sonja’s old adage here…a moving object is going to create more energy than a stationary object.