Thunder Women’s Basketball Improve Despite Weekend LossesPosted on: Jan 19, 2015
This weekend’s competition saw the Thunder taking on the #7 team in Canada in the Lakeland Rustlers. On Friday the Thunder were in Lakeland for the first of the two-game set. The Thunder were behind the 8-ball from the start, as the Rustlers went out to an early lead. But the Thunder battled back, cutting the deficit down to 6 points in the second quarter. At the half the Thunder found themselves down 43-33. “We had a great first 20 minutes," stated Coach Valpreda. "As a team, we need to be better rebounding the ball on the defensive end. Lakeland has size and if we don’t get those rebounds, we're in trouble.” The Thunder's rebounding woes continued in the second half with the Rustlers snatching no less than 18 offensive rebounds. “When you give up that many O-boards, you're not going to win games because it doesn’t give us an opportunity on the other end.” In the end, the Thunder fell to the Rustlers, 74-53. “We played well tonight; we did some good things but tonight it was all about the rebounding battle. We are getting better each game but we're also facing some very good teams. The fact that we're staying with them is great," concluded Valpreda. Congratulations to Shyanne Walton for being named Player of the Game.
On Saturday night the Thunder were back home, re-focused and motivated to be better than the night before. The Thunder came out strong, stifling the Rustlers on the defensive end and running the ball and finishing at the rim, on the offense.” After the first quarter, the Thunder were up 12-11. “Games like these build our character; we have to earn everything and it teaches us to give more and finish strong," stated Coach Valpreda. As the second quarter opened, some old habits started to show up for the Thunder. The Rustlers picked up the pace of their offensive rebounding again and the Thunder were not boxing out. “I thought we learned from last night. We need to find someone and box out. This shouldn’t be a surprise to us as we discussed this before the game; we know what they do," lamented Valpreda. At the half, the Thunder found themselves down by nine. As the second half began, veteran leader Alyssa Bridgeman started to turn the tempo up on the defensive end, creating steals and making open lay-ups. “As a team, we go as Aly goes. The girls feed off her and look to her to lead, commentted Valpreda. "On a positive note, others have been stepping up lately like Shyanne (Walton), Meg (McIntosh), Geri (Anstice) and our players off the bench.” The Thunder were down as much as 16 at one point but never gave up, finishing the game with a 57-48 loss. “Tonight our defense was awesome. We held them to 57 points. We competed well, but we need to make baskets when we get stops or steals; we need to take advantage of those turnovers. Our players are getting better and we played very well with the best team in the North. If we come out with the same effort and mentality against the other teams, we should see positive results down the stretch," concluded Valpreda. Congratulations to Geri Anstice for being named Player of the Game.
Next up, the Thunder will host the Augustana Vikings on Friday, January 23rd before heading out to Camrose on Saturday for game two. Both tip off times are 6 PM.
Photo Courtesy of John McIntosh