Scraping by with a 68-65 victory over McKendree, Truman State University followed up with a revenge win over the Eagles with a final score of 73-67.
Guard Tiffany Davenport is the primary ball-handler for the Bulldogs and a senior leader on the team.
“One of the biggest aspects about being a senior is showing the underclassmen the ropes of the program,” Davenport said. “Getting them adjusted to how we interact with the coaches and staff, in general, is key to building great team chemistry.”
The Bulldogs needed underclassmen on Thursday as sophomore guard Hannah Belanger continued to be a dominating scoring threat putting up 25 points in 37 minutes of action.
Davenport acknowledged the benefits of playing close contests in the tough GLVC regular-season schedule.
“These kinds of games definitely help us understand the little things that we can continue to improve on,” Davenport said. “Hitting free throws, getting extra stops on defense and closing out games is pivotal for postseason play.”
The senior praised her fellow guards Belanger and Katey Klucking, stating that each of the three brings something different to the basketball court that is key to winning.
The Bulldogs present a strong backcourt, but their frontcourt is also key in what they do for the team to achieve success.
Forward Ellie Weltha is a top-five rebounder in the GLVC and said she is driven to attack the glass every game.
“Our team loves to get out and run in transition off of misses,” Weltha explained. “Rebounding effectively allows us to capitalize on our fast break opportunities.”
Weltha is averaging 9.2 rebounds per game this season, earning the fourth spot on the rebounding leaders list for the GLVC, one spot above her senior counterpart Katie Jaseckas.
Although Weltha is securing more boards, the redshirt sophomore said the leaders turn the whole team into a unified, dominant squad.
“I think we have some of the best leaders on this team that I have ever played with,” Weltha said. “Katie Jaseckas, in particular, is one of the hardest working teammates I’ve ever gotten the honor to play with.”
The senior shout outs didn’t end there as Weltha also credited Davenport as a great leader on the court and in the team’s daily operations.
Assistant Coach Amy Briggs is in her first season with the Bulldogs, and the former-Bulldog-turned-coach has enjoyed a successful start thus far continuing against Southern Indiana.
“We don’t like to get beaten twice by the same team in a season,” Briggs said. “We knew from our first encounter with SI that we could compete and win the second time around.”
The Bulldogs took down the Eagles, who were ranked No. 11 nationally at the time of the game, behind the dynamic guard combo of Belanger’s 26 points and Klucking’s 20 points.
Briggs said it is important to find different ways to win games, especially the tough ones on the road.
“The players want to win these close games,” Briggs said. “They are willing to battle till the very end and do whatever it takes to win.”
Briggs said she doesn’t think the Bulldogs have reached their peak of the season and the team will continue to improve until they hit that mark.
The Bulldogs will play back-to-back home games against the University of Indianapolis on Feb. 4 and Lewis University on Feb. 6 as they look to extend their win streak to nine.