Thunder Women’s Basketball Get First Wins of the SeasonPosted on: Nov 10, 2014
The Thunder Women’s Basketball team got the goose egg off the win column this weekend when they squared off with the Eagles from King’s University. Both teams were going into the weekend looking for their respective first wins of the season. “Both teams had yet to win this season and both teams were hungry to get that win and boost their confidence,” stated Coach Valpreda. With that being said, the Thunder did not take the Eagles for granted. They prepared for the ladies from King's just like they would for any opponent and stuck to their game plan. The game began as a see-saw affair with both teams exchanging baskets. Early foul trouble found the Thunder in a bit of a hole, as King's was in bonus early in the first quarter. “Again our focus needs to be discipline on the defensive end. We commit too many fouls because instead of moving our feet, we're reaching.” At the half the Thunder found themselves down 29-24. “When we leave (their) players open they will make shots, just as if we don’t box anyone out, they will finish uncontested lay-ups.” As the second half started, the Thunder awoke from their first half repose and went on a run led by Aly Bridgeman's barrage of steals and effort on the defensive end. “Aly is one of our best players. She’s athletic and strong. There have been several instances (this season) where we go as far as she will take us,” said Valpreda. Aly’s performance sparked an upsurge in effort and intensity from the rest of her teammates. “We battled back; we were resilient,” concluded Valpreda. That 2nd half surge propelled the Thunder to finish with a 66-54 win.
On Saturday night, the action switched to the gym at King's. “We knew we needed to start where we left off from the previous night,” said Valpreda. We had our lowest turnovers of the season (the night before) with 20 but again, we were not great on the rebounding end. We were hoping to do better on Saturday night." As the game kicked off, the Eagles came out looking to be the aggressor. They shot the ball well and were the bullies underneath the glass. “As we play each weekend, we need to be getting better for forty minutes. When we aren’t focused for forty, that’s when other teams take advantage.” At the half, the thunder were up 23-21. “We played ok; we did a lot of good things in transition. We stole the ball and we ran the ball, but we have to finish at the hoop," opined Valpreda. As the second half began, the Thunder came out and “Thunder Struck” the Eagles defense. Once again, Aly Bridgeman led the team and took control. Her effort led to 4th year Guard Karolina Wieczorek also being a dominant force on the offensive end. “When our veterans play well and step up, we all play well.” In the end, the Thunder had tallied their second win of the season, recording the 62-47 victory. “(We had) much better effort and play tonight. We did a lot of good things this whole weekend. We limited turnovers, had more structure, better free throw percentage and overall we played like we are capable of playing,” concluded Valpreda. Aly Bridgeman had a banner weekend, taking back-to-back Player of the Game honours.
The Thunder next action will be a pair of home games as they host the Wolves from Grande Prairie Regional College. Game times go at 6 PM on Friday night and 1 PM on Saturday afternoon.
Photo Courtesy of John McIntosh