The Bulldogs entered the week 11-1 overall in conference play, good enough for second place in the GLVC behind the No. 1 Drury University Panthers. In the first game of the homestand the Bulldogs struggled on defense in the opening quarter of play, allowing 27 points and falling behind by 10. The Bulldogs defense quickly came alive in the second quarter allowing just seven points, however, Truman was unable to take advantage of their defensive efforts and only put up nine points in the quarter to enter halftime down 26-34.
The third quarter was owned by the Bulldogs. Guard Sloane Totta led the comeback efforts for the ’Dogs with 10 points in the period, including her 1,000th career point coming on a three to put the Bulldogs up four midway through the third. After outscoring the Lions 22-9 in the quarter, the Bulldogs entered the final period of play with a 48-43 lead.
After holding the Lions to just 16 points in the second and third quarters, the defense of the Bulldogs was unable to continue its dominance in the fourth. The ’Dogs were able to hold off the Lions until late in the game. With 3 ½ minutes to go the Lions tied the game up at 60 and would be caged no longer. Despite their strong defensive effort for most of the game, Truman allowed 12 points in the final three minutes of play, and ultimately fell to Lindenwood 72-65.
After the game head coach Theo Dean said that the team’s loss was due to his team struggling to finish down the stretch.
“I think it just comes down to execution,” Dean said. “I think we ran plays that got us good looks, the looks that we wanted, and we just didn’t hit shots. I feel like if we’re in that position again we hit those shots.”
The second game of the home stand against UMSL was Truman’s annual pink out game, in which players, coaches, fans and even officials wear pink to honor breast cancer awareness. This season’s game held a greater weight than past seasons, as one of the members of the women’s team recently lost a family member to the disease. With emotions running high, the Bulldogs took to the court looking to avenge their previous loss.
Truman’s second game of the week started off slow for both teams. After a gritty first quarter the ’Dogs found themselves down 10-9. As the game continued the Bulldogs began to settle into their offense and find their rhythm. Center Katie Jaseckas helped the Bulldogs survive the first half with a game high 13 points at the break, including hitting all three of her 3-point attempts.
In the third quarter the Bulldogs gained control of the game and never looked back. The Bulldogs’ efforts in the third were led by guard Katey Klucking, who scored eight of her 12 points in the period on 75% from the field. Klucking also finished the quarter with three rebounds and led the team in rebounds for the game with eight. Truman ended the third with an 11-point lead that they would hold for the rest of the game, eventually winning 63-58.
Jaseckas said after the game she was excited for the matchup, knowing that UMSL is a quality team and she took the shots that the defense gave her.
“The other girls were pretty big,” Jaseckas said. “I tried to pull them out to the 3-point line to give my teammates room to drive to the basket. My teammates did a great job finding me on the perimeter and hitting me with some great passes that turned into points.”
The Bulldogs are now second overall in the GLVC behind Drury and their former head coach. With just six games remaining on their schedule the Bulldogs will need to win out to claim the top spot in the conference, but Dean believes his message to his team is the same today as it was in the beginning of the season.
“Our conference, no matter if you’re No. 1, No. 12, No. 10, it doesn’t matter. Anybody can come in and beat you,” Dean said. “We’ve done it ourselves, we’ve done it to other teams. No game is more important than the next one, and the most important game is always the one you have coming up next.”
The Bulldogs’ next game will be Thursday, Feb. 13 against Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. The Bulldogs will need to continue their winning ways if they hope to challenge the Drury Panthers for a chance to claim the GLVC title.