Above photo by Pat Carrigan/First Down Photos
By Riley Zayas
BELTON- There were no scoring records set inside the Mayborn Campus Center Thursday night. At least not for the first three quarters.
But the UMHB women’s basketball team found a way to extend its winning streak to 20 behind resilient defense and another outstanding fourth quarter performance, defeating Belhaven 61-53.
Entering the final 10 minutes, the Crusaders, ranked No. 14 in the nation, were having flashbacks to last Saturday’s road contest at Sul Ross State. Similar to that recent victory, the score was tied after three quarters. On this particular night, it was knotted at 36 apiece as the fourth quarter began.
But in a similar response, UMHB put the game away in the fourth, mounting a 10-4 scoring run in a three-minute span from the eight-minute to five-minute marks in the quarter. It proved enough, as the lead widened to as many as nine points twice, eventually winning by eight.
Eliminating fast-break opportunities: UMHB’s defense was relentless, and no more so than in its ability stopping the Blazers in transition. It forced Belhaven to score on the entire Crusader lineup rather than take advantage of fast-break situations against one or two UMHB defenders. Belhaven was unable to cash in on many of its 10 steals, scoring just four fast-break points.
UMHB head coach Mark Morefield: “Belhaven had quick guards, and I like the fact that we didn’t give a lot of transition buckets. I thought our transition defense was solid for a pretty athletic team.”
Kollmorgen’s consistency: Kaitlyn Kollmorgen scored in double figures for the fifth time in the last six games, setting a new career best with 15 points. She shot an impressive 6-of-7 from the field, while adding three free throws, and also recorded two assists as she saw the floor well. She repeatedly got the ball into the hands of open teammates as Belhaven’s defense surrounded her in the paint, leaving other UMHB shooters wide-open near the basket.
Morefield: “Kaitlyn is playing off the charts right now. She’s very talented and athletic. This is who she is, and what she can do.”
What Needs Improvement
The play from both teams was disorganized for a good portion of the contest, especially in the first three quarters. After being outscored 17-9 in the opening quarter, UMHB responded with a 15-point second quarter, as the game was tied at 24 at halftime. But the 18 turnovers from the Cru, and 39 percent shooting percentage were not the kind of stats Morefield wanted to see. He cited the “transfer of learning” and the ability to improve from previous situations and execute the scouting report as major areas for improvement
Morefield: “You look at the transition from Saturday to today. I thought our transition defense was pretty good. But I don’t like the lack of transfer of learning from an individual basis. We have to be better at that. And that’s obviously worrisome, because it’s not for a lack of film work.”
UMHB hosts No. 22 ETBU at the Mayborn Center in Belton on Saturday. Tip off is set for 1 p.m. CT.