‘Dogs fall in Div. II exhibitions

The Truman State women’s basketball team finished its preseason last weekend with games against Western Illinois University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Despite losses to two Div. I opponents, the Bulldogs returned with experience that will help them improve for the 2015-16 season.

After falling behind early during the game Thursday against Western Illinois, Truman was unable to recover and lost 63-41. Similarly, Truman came up short in Edwardsville Friday with a final score of 67-60.

Bulldogs Head Coach Amy Eagan says naturally, the team wants to win, but it’s also important the players understand where they’re at as individuals and as a team, and what they need to work on improving. She says what the players take away from the games is what’s most important.

“I think we need to get better offensively in regards to game situations, time and score and who needs to have the ball when,” Eagan says. “There are also some more quick-hit stuff we need to get in offensively, but really, we just haven’t talked about that yet because we’ve been working on so many other things.”

Although they lost both games, the Bulldogs felt good about their defensive play. During each of their games last week, the ‘Dogs kept their opponents within the 60-point range.

“Defensively, in both games we were really solid,” Eagan says. “We were playing some phenomenal Div. I athletes, but we were able to keep their scoring down. We shared the ball extremely well when we played, and I think that’s pretty important, too.”

Sophomore forward Ashley Hartwig, who scored 10 points for the ‘Dogs Friday, says the team discovered what it needed to work on offensively and defensively — moving the ball around more and getting into the post more often. She says the team needs to work on its rebounding and get more comfortable with its offense.

Hartwig says the team is going to spend the week focusing on improving its game and being stronger with the ball against opponents that may have more size than it does.

“It was our first game, so we had a lot of nerves going in,” Hartwig says. “We just wanted to see where we are as a team, and it was nice to play against a team other than ourselves before the season started.”

Redshirt senior center Michalina Tomczak led the team with eight points and seven rebounds during Thursday’s game and was 3-for-5 from the floor with nine points Friday. Tomczak says defense will be important for winning games throughout the upcoming season. She says the team played well, defensively, during its two exhibition games. Despite the level of competition players were up against, Tomczak says the team has positives to take from the two games.

“I’d say holding two Div. I teams to 60 points is pretty impressive and shows a lot about how hard we work on a defensive end, but we still need to work on our changeover defense,” Tomczak says. “Overall though, it was a really good two games, and it shows we have a lot to look forward to. It’s going to be an exciting season, and we’re all looking forward to getting it started.”

The team will start off the regular season this weekend. Quincy University will host the Midwest Region Challenge tournament, where Truman is scheduled to play 6 p.m. Nov. 14 against Grand Valley State University and 1 p.m. Nov. 15 against Northern Michigan University.