Lady Blues out-rebound Oklahoma State in exhibition loss

Josh Rouse and Eric Smith

The Washburn Lady Blues are 0-2 in exhibition play.

Washburn lost 67-48 to Oklahoma State Tuesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. Junior guard Hope Gregory led the team in scoring with 13 points, as well as six rebounds. Senior guard Amanda Fessenden put up eight points and senior forward Dayna Rodriguez chipped in seven points and six boards. OSU’s Andrea Riley dropped 28 points on the Blues.

Washburn shot 40.5 percent against the Cowgirls and was a lackluster 50 percent from the freethrow line. There were statistical highlights for the Blues, however, as they went 6-17 on three pointers and out-rebounded OSU 34-32.

“We’ve got a ways to go, but that’s par for the course,” said Ron McHenry.

The team has nine new players and we lose some of the scorers last year. We may have to play somebody really good to find out where our deficiencies are at. I kind of know where they are, but until somebody else wakes us up and whips us pretty good, we may not know them, even though we try to convince them of it.

“We’re making progress and I like what we have, though once we focus on the things that can win us games, I think we’ll be all right. We should be good to go for another title and make a run at it.”

Washburn began their exhibition run Sunday with an 88-60 loss to the University of Iowa, where Gregory scored 16 points to lead the Lady Blues. Gregory was the only double digit scorer for the Blues, and looks to be a major contributor from a scoring standpoint this season.

McHenry said he also expects Rodriguez to step up big this year, and hopes she can use her size (6’2) and athleticism to create mismatches.

“For us to be very good, Dayna’s going to have to score, because that’s one of our deficiencies this year is scoring,” said McHenry. “So I think with Dayna in there scoring, she’s a low post player and we always need a low post presence. Dayna has the ability to play inside very strong, as well as step out and play.”

McHenry was also high on senior guard Brette Ulsaker, as well, saying she was versatile enough to play the one, two and three spots because of her size and knowledge of the game.

“I think she has some scoring ability and I think she’ll be more comfortable trying to score,” said McHenry.

Ulsaker, one of four seniors on the team, said this season would be different than last year, when they had a strong core of returners with scoring roles already in place. With the loss of six seniors, from a year ago including Jessica Mainz, there will be plenty of opportunities for younger players to step up.

“It reminds me a lot of the first year I came in when we had like 10 newcomers,” said Ulsaker. “That’s how it was when I came here and I was one of the newcomers. It’s just good to see everyone trying to catch on and molding a new team, because we definitely are a totally new team this year. That’s how our team is going to be, I guess. It’s going to be a new tradition almost is how I look at it.”

McHenry said the Lady Blues have a chance to excel, given the right circumstances.

“We can be good,” said McHenry. “At some point we’ve just got to figure it out and do the little things.”