Exhibition games signal the dawn of a new season, an exciting time for basketball fans. Players get to suit up in the brand new jerseys for the first time, lace up a pair of Jordan’s, and step on the hardwood against someone other than themselves.
Even though the games don’t go down in the record books, it’s an important time for Lady Govs Basketball in preparing themselves as much as possible for the regular season.The key word is “preparing”, though. Wins and losses aren’t taken into account. Player stats don’t go into the official stat sheets. However, even with that said, there’s always going to be commentary regardless of the outcome.
Right now, it’s safe to say judgement surrounding the Lady Govs is positive coming off a 85-71 victory over Martin Methodist on Sunday. Prior to that, in the opening contest on Nov. 1, APSU drubbed St. Catharine, 92-45.
But whatever critiques are given of those two games, find a nearby paper shredder and dispose of them.
It’s a month too early to start jumping to conclusions.
A 14-point victory looks nice on paper, but in reality, the score against Martin Methodist is misleading. There were 12 lead changes in the first half as the feisty Redhawks held their own for 20 minutes, with APSU leading by just five points at halftime. At one point, the Lady Govs went on a seven minute drought without a field goal until Tiasha Gray hit a jumper. On top of that, 13 turnovers were committed by the home team. Against any other team not named St. Catharine or Martin Methodist, APSU would have been down by double-digits going into the break.
The second half was a different story, though, with the Lady Govs heating up down the stretch to eventually prevail. This could be a recurring theme throughout the season if the focus isn’t where it needs to be at the first tipoff. Even though this year’s APSU team has its five leading scorers from a season ago back, it’s going to be a work in progress.
There are 13 non-conference games on the schedule, beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 14 against Wright State. Head coach Carrie Daniels didn’t shy away from scheduling quality competition to begin the season, which is exactly what this team needs. The Lady Raiders reached the NCAA Tournament last year after an impressive 26-win season, so this isn’t going to be a walkover NAIA school coming to town. Oh, and two of the next three opponents for APSU — Grand Canyon and Chattanooga — won a combined 50 games last season.
But the greater the challenge comes a greater reward, which is what the Lady Govs will search for.
Once APSU treks through much of the early portion of the schedule, then we’ll have a fair sample size to project this team once Ohio Valley Conference play begins.
Photo by Meaghan Malone/The All State