Lady Cru respond to close-call loss with wins
The Lady Cru sealed their fourth game of the season against the Ozarks 72 to 59.
Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thorton, who is in her fourth season at the university, said the team still has potential, even with a 2-3 record.
“I’ve seen some great things out of us, and we’ve just played really well at times,” Kirkpatrick-Thorton said. “But we’ve just had a hard time finishing our game.”
During the Texas-Dallas game, the Lady Cru had a 15-point lead in the second half, but were unable to hold the Comets, losing the game by a mere 8 points.
These close losses served to motivate the team to come out stronger against the Lady Eagles of the University of the Ozarks. The Cru went on a 9-point run at the end of the fourth quarter, holding the Eagles on the ground until the last 30 seconds of the game.
Junior Kallie White said, “We know we have potential … We made a huge step forward against the Ozarks, but are continuing to improve on really putting a team away.”
Junior sport management major, Jessica Kelly, answered an Eagle’s turnover in the first half with a three-point jump shot.
“We want to win the (American Southwest) Conference and then make it into the nationals,” Kelly said.
In the second half, Kelly got a steal, was fouled on her rebound shot and scored on the free throw line, bringing her game total to eight points.
Sometimes, players and referees don’t see eye to eye. To keep from losing their concentration, Kelly said team members try to focus on what is within their control.
“Just knowing that there are going to be bad calls,” she said. “(We know) that we have to overcome it. Just do the next thing right.”
There are five additions to the team of 16. Unifying the players is necessary for success on the court.
“It’s a challenge, but we … (remind) them about how they felt when they came in and the importance of making a connection,” Kirkpatrick-Thorton said.
She realizes that team harmony isn’t instant, but it comes with time and practice.
“You have to let (it) progress a little bit naturally. You can’t really totally force it, but you can help create an environment to enhance it.”
As for the veteran players, they’ve made the adjustment.
“It doesn’t feel like we have new people on the team,” she said. “We know we have them, but it just doesn’t feel like it because we’re like a family.”
Time together helps the players form relationships. The team typically practices six days a week for two hours. They often spend extra time lifting weights or watching film of previous games.
Beyond endeavoring to become ASC champs, the Lady Cru set smaller goals, such as higher percentage of rebounds or free throws made. By aiming for particular improvements, the team will progress.
“We feel like if we reach these team goals … (we) will come out with a win.”
Kirkpatrick-Thorton is proud of the Lady Crusaders.
“That’s what I’ve seen that’s the most impressive,” she said. “Their ability to work hard and really let us push them. Our ability to press has been better — more effective.”