ABILENE, Texas- For the last couple of weeks, the defensive intensity, rather than the scoring, has been the centerpiece of the UMHB women’s basketball team’s success.
Against UT-Dallas a week ago, the Crusaders held the Comets to a shooting percentage of just 27 percent. This past Saturday, UMHB forced Ozarks into 30 turnovers. Thursday night’s 73-62 road win over McMurry was no different, with the performance on the defensive end paving the way to victory.
“I’m very big on defense,” UMHB interim head coach Kendra Foreman said postgame. “[Good defense] makes it easy on the offensive end. If you play defense, you will stay on the floor…and I guess everybody wants to stay on the floor because they’re playing good defense right now.”
Indeed. UMHB improved to 18-6 overall, 13-4 in American Southwest Conference play, with the win, forcing 27 turnovers, which led to 21 points. And the Crusaders stayed aggressive on the boards as well, limiiting the Warhawks to just seven offensive rebounds. By comparison, the Cru had 28.
“We’re usually bigger than most teams so we have to use that and excel in it,” Foreman said. “Our guards are also hands-down playing well, especially defensively. I tell them, ‘Go get the ball’ and they usually do [when it comes to rebounds].”
Arieona Rosborough led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds, the third double-double of the year for the sophomore guard. A total of six different players scored at least seven points in the victory, with the balanced effort leading to opportunities on the offensive end.
After taking an 18-13 lead after the first quarter, UMHB opened the second on a 7-0 run, highlighted by five points from Lauren Baker, taking its first double-digit lead of the evening, 25-15. They led 35-27 at halftime, and outscored the Warhawks 17-12 in third quarter, slowly pulling away. The Cru led by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter, when Catalina Cortez connected on a jump-shot with 5:47 to play. McMurry cut the deficit to eight within the final two minutes, but the hosts never got any closer.
Though content to have come away with the road win, Foreman and her squad are well-aware of the effort level that will be necessary heading into Saturday’s regular season finale. Hardin-Simmons is the opponent, the nation’s No. 8 team, and the Cowgirls currently boast a perfect 17-0 conference record, having beaten Concordia (TX) 91-41 on Thursday night. If UMHB is to make an ASC Tournament run, it will be done on HSU’s home court, as the Cowgirls have already locked up the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. So the Crusaders might as well get used to the atmosphere inside the Maybee Complex.
“Our past couple games have been about our defense, and defense wins games,” Foreman said. “We need to guard the ball and not foul, and we should come out with the win. We just have to stick with the game plan.”
UMHB stat leaders
Points: Arieona Rosboroiugh (16), McCall Hampton (9), Catalina Cortez (8), Lauren Baker (8)
Rebounds: Arieona Rosborough (10), Weade Adeleke (7), Ashley Faux (6)
Assists: Arieona Rosborough (3), Lauren Baker (2) Addy Self (2), Kenna Gibson (2)