The women’s basketball team will have its second crack of the season at the third ranked team in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference when Grove City College [14-2, 6-2] visits the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse at 1:30 Saturday afternoon.
In the first meeting between the two teams, which took place Dec. 4, the Jackets [4-13, 3-5] fell to the Wolverines, 77-56. Since then, the Wolverines have kept rolling, winning six conference games, including four of its last five.
On the contrary, the Jackets have had a bumpy start to PAC action. However, Waynesburg might be starting to turn things around. The Jackets have won two straight following Wednesday’s 74-73 win over Bethany.
Confidence leads to Contributions
Senior guard Erin Joyce had a breakout performance against the Bison, thing a career-high with 17 points. Last Saturday against Thiel, Joyce was two rebounds and three assists away from a triple-double. Over the past two games, Joyce said her confidence has improved.
“I feel like I have been playing with more confidence in myself and more trust in my game,” Joyce said. “I’m able to contribute more because I’m trusting that I know what I need to do, whether that’s putting the ball in the hoop or finding the girl who is putting the ball in the hoop and making sure she gets her shot.”
The ‘Killer B’s’
The Wolverines come into the game with two player averaging double digits in Jess Bowen and Kate Balcom. This junior/senior duo combines to average 30.4 PPG for Grove City. Defending ‘The Killer B’s,’ along with sophomore guard Allison Podkul [9.6 PPG] will be difficult.
“The biggest thing we need to do is pick ourselves up,” Joyce said. “We know that they are a good team and they’re going to score, but when they do, we know that we have to answer.”
Joyce also recognized the Wolverines ability to go on runs. In the first meeting, the Wolverines outscored the Yellow Jackets 21-11 in the third quarter, turning a five-point game into a 15-point game and leading to a double digit loss.
“Teams go on runs, but it’s up to us to limit how long the run lasts and the best way for us to do that is to not get caught up in it but to just play our game,” Joyce said.
Breaking the Press
Another challenge Grove City presents is a heavy defensive press, and with an already small roster for Waynesburg, there’s a concern that this could lead to fatigue. Joyce, however, believes Grove City’s pressure can be combated with patience.
“We know they are a pressing team,” Joyce said. “We are reminded that we have to keep our composure and be patient. The best way to beat the press is to take what it gives you and not to force things. We have a small roster, but we will be prepared when it comes.”
Moving closer to tip-off, Joyce said in order to defend the high-powered Wolverines offense, led by Bowen and Balcom, Waynesburg needs one thing.
“Discipline,” Joyce said. “Both of them are solid athletes and we have to make the choice to follow our scout and guard them the way coach chooses.”