MW BASKETBALL: Minnesota West women's basketball teams looks to build off early 2-1 start
WORTHINGTON -- So far this season, Minnesota West hasn't had any problems scoring points. "We scored a few points both Wednesday and Saturday," MW women's basketball head coach Mike Fury said. "We scored 64 against Madison and they were a little ...
WORTHINGTON -- So far this season, Minnesota West hasn't had any problems scoring points.
"We scored a few points both Wednesday and Saturday," MW women's basketball head coach Mike Fury said. "We scored 64 against Madison and they were a little tough. The good thing we have is some real sound, fundamental basketball players. Then all we have to do is tweak them a little bit and get them into our offensive sets and our patterns. When they're good players like they are with their skills and stuff, we just try to head them in the right direction, and that's what happening."
The Lady Jays are off to a 2-1 start in the young season, with victories at Dakota Wesleyan on Wednesday and home against Hibbing. Their only setback came against Madison Area Technical College -- the No. 2-ranked team in the nation -- during the Sixth Annual Sanford Regional Worthington Basketball Classic.
"The thing I liked about Madison was that it was an intense ballgame," Fury said. "They put a ton of pressure on us and we took pretty good care of the ball. We were able to score against them, so that's encouraging. Everybody scored; we didn't have to rely on one or two people."
In three games, the Lady Jays are averaging 74.3 points per game.
"That's a pretty good start," Fury said.
They are allowing 54.3 points per contest.
"That's a pretty good start, too," the coach said. "We like the defensive effort."
But there is also room for improvement for MW, which hosts Iowa Lakes on Wednesday night.
"We have to learn how to play good defense," Fury said. "I think that's always a key with the transition from high school to college is the 'D' and the intensity. It's really different. You have to guard somebody every time you're on defense, you can't take possessions off."
MW has nine players on the roster, with three returning players, Rachel Pavelko, Breanna Rients and Jenna Donkersloot.
"Rachel and Breanna and Jenna have worked hard over the summer," Fury said. "Those three are really providing some good leadership in practice and in the classroom. They are great students, they work hard, they are good kids, so that's huge. Not that we had to worry about the freshmen, but they look at that and they see it."
Pavelko is off to a good start at a guard position.
"She's just started out so good," Fury said. "She's such a good leader. She's really done a nice job so far in three games and we kind of expected that. She had a good year last year, and I think she's a little more comfortable this year."
Rients is back for her sophomore season and will see time at a guard position.
"She's a shooter, so anytime we see any kind of zone 'D' she'll be on the floor quickly," Fury said. "Then she's going to get in the rotation. She might not be starting, but she's a great one to have coming off the bench. Defensively, she's getting better and better all the time."
Donkersloot is the lone sophomore returning in the post and will provide leadership.
"Jenna has done a good job, too," Fury said. "She learned a lot last year and she only got better. Now she picked up where she left off. She worked hard over the summer and is now really, really working hard. She's important to us as a leader because she sets a good example."
This season, Fury brought in a solid group of new players.
Brooke Kramer is a sophomore, but is playing her first season for the Lady Jays.
Worthington native Alyssa Smith returns after a one-year hiatus, while Sam Lynn has played well so far for MW after being a go-to player for Adrian High School a year ago.
"When the ball is in (Lynn's) hands, good things are going to happen," Fury said. "She's had a bunch of assists every game and that's the way she is. She's so unselfish; she's always looking to pass before shooting. Then the good thing is that she is a scoring threat.
"She's a great all-around player, we're so excited to have her. She makes us so good."
Edgerton graduate Katie Hadler hasn't yet played this season, but will make her MW debut Wednesday.
Freshmen LoRel Christensen and Kristina Skorepa will both see time in the post position.
With a balance of good offense, defense, freshmen and sophomores, Fury looks for this year's team to be very competitive in a tough division.
"It's going to be a horse race and hopefully we'll be in it," he said. "I think we will be with the caliber of kids we have and the ability of our kids. If we aren't, the division is really, really tough."