Control of rapid transition offense will be central for women’s basketball (1-5) when the team takes on Bryant (1-4) this Saturday. The Lions’ last game ended in disappointing fashion to Army, but they’re aiming to further their strong offensive momentum from the loss. “Even though we didn’t pull out the victory, we did a lot of positive things on offense in the game that we’re planning on carrying over to Saturday’s game as well,” head coach Paul Nixon said. “We did a much better job of controlling the tempo offensively and getting some very good looks in transition.” Bryant, which also relies on team speed up and down the court, took command of its own high-paced transition game this past Wednesday, beating Brown 81-58. Forward Courtney Schissler, who scored all 20 of her points in the second half on Wednesday, emerged as a new threat for the Bulldogs. Bryant shot a season-high 58.2 percent from the field that night, but strong field-goal percentages might not decide the score tomorrow. In last year’s matchup, the Lions made only 37.5 percent of their shots from the field, compared to Bryant’s 42.6 percent. But Columbia showed up at the free throw line, earning a 77-74 win. With three seconds left in the game and the Lions only leading by a point, then-freshman guard Caitlyn Unsworth sunk her two foul shots to seal the victory. Though the Light Blue shot 73 percent from the line versus the Bulldogs’ 64.5 percent, that lopsided free throw margin didn’t decide the game. More than 50 fouls were committed in that 40-minute game and two Columbia players fouled out, numbers that Nixon said reflect where the contest matters most. “It typically is an indication that the offense is dictating the action, and they’re making plays the defense is not reacting to quick enough and therefore, they’re fouling a lot,” he said. “So I think one thing we will need to focus on is trying to limit their transition opportunities but do so without putting them at the line so often.” The Light Blue defense should be prepared to combat such speedy play. Forcing turnovers and making them count proved no issue for Columbia last year, as the team scored 30 points off of stops. Defense in the post will also be key, with strong defensive rebounding instrumental to getting the ball out quickly on the floor. Bryant outrebounded Columbia 46-35 last season. Given the return of the Bulldogs’ star forward, six-foot junior Naana Ankoma-Mensa, the battle of the boards won’t be easy. The game begins at 1 p.m. in Smithfield, R.I. email@example.com
Women's basketball seeking second win against Bryant
May 23, 11:57am
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