Bulldogs win first three games

Photo by Daniel Degenhardt

Truman State University women’s basketball team started the 2018-2019 campaign with two victories in the GMAC/GLVC Conference Challenge in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Bulldogs’ season opener against Trevecca Nazarene University was the third ever meeting between the programs. Truman has never lost to Trevecca, and the Bulldogs made sure last Friday’s matchup wouldn’t be the first time with a 14-point victory over the Trojans. Trevecca, who came into this year’s Conference Challenge 1-3 in their last four challenge games since 2016, made the first quarter scrappy and low-scoring. The game was tied at nine entering the second quarter, and both teams continued to trade buckets until the Truman offense found a rhythm and outscored Trevecca 19-7 to close out the first half.

The fourth quarter was the only period of the game where Trevecca outscored the Bulldogs, but it was insignificant thanks to the lead Truman built up by the end of the third quarter. Truman went on to win 59-45.

Freshman Allison Thomas and sophomore Katie Jaseckas led the way with nine points each. The ‘Dogs shot 41 percent from the floor and the bench provided 27 points.

The Bulldogs returned to the court the next night to take on Kentucky Wesleyan College for the first time since 2014. After jumping out to a 10-point lead after the first quarter, the Bulldogs found themselves trailing by one to end the half. In the third quarter, both teams took control of the game at times. Kentucky Wesleyan grew their lead to nine with about four minutes remaining in the quarter, but Truman got themselves back into striking distance by chipping away at the Panthers’ lead and making it a one-possession game going into the fourth.

Up to this point, both teams were able to survive an early offensive push by the opponent and keep the game close, so it felt as if it would end up being a close contest. However, Truman’s fourth quarter performance made sure there would be no need for late game heroics. The Bulldogs outscored Kentucky Wesleyan 25-11 in the final period of the game, which included a 12-4 run to end the game and secure the 71-59 victory.

The main supply of points in Truman’s 12-point win came from four double-digit performances by redshirt senior guard Brooke Bailey, senior forward Rachel Edmundson, junior guard Sloane Totta and redshirt freshman Maddie Re. Bailey led the team with 15 points, while Re owned the glass all night, bringing down 16 rebounds to go with 11 points to complete her first double-double. As a whole, the team shot 40 percent on the night and picked up 23 points off the bench.

It’s early in the year, but being able to put together back-to-back wins right away during a time where most teams are still adjusting is no easy feat. One player who will play a big role in the team’s ability to keep winning is Bailey.

Bailey said having a smaller roster this season means the team will need to avoid injuries and focus on sticking together to continue their early winning ways.

“With only 13 girls, staying healthy will be a huge key to our success,” Bailey said. “Even with the small number, we have a lot of experience on the team, and with that we have earned the right to be confident every time we step on the court.”

Bailey said she believes playing together with confidence will allow the team to do great things.

Some of the experience Bailey is referring to will come from Totta. As a freshman, Totta started every game, led the team in assists and made the all-freshman GLVC team. She showed her ability to be consistent by once again starting every game and leading the team in assists. She also earned all-conference honors for the second time, this time making the Third Team.

“Sloane Totta is, in my opinion, one of the biggest offensive threats in our conference,” Bailey said. “I have complete trust in her to shoot the ball any chance she gets.”

Through the first two games this season, Totta is averaging just under 10 points per game and has totaled six assists.

Bailey also said her three senior counterparts, Edmundson and guards Rachel Steinhoff and Mackenzie Jerks will bring a great amount of leadership to the team. On a day where the shots aren’t falling, Bailey expects the seniors to be able to hold the team together to help grind out a win.

On Tuesday, November 13, Truman returned to Pershing Arena for their home opener against Missouri Western State University. For the second game in a row, the Bulldogs had four players in double digits on the scoresheet. Jaseckas led the charge with 18 points, followed by 15 from Re, 13 from Totta and 10 points supplied by Bailey. The team shot 47 percent from the field and outrebounded MWSU by 14 to defeat the Griffons 84-67.

On Friday, November 16, the Bulldogs were in Quincy, Illinois, competing in the Quincy Subway Tip-Off Tournament. They played Wayne State College to open the tournament, then took on Winona State University Saturday.