Defending champs fall in exhibition

Nathan Miller

Plus 13, is never a golf score Doug Hamilton would be pleased for his golf team to have, but on Friday, Nov. 4, it was good enough for his No. 11 Ichabods to defeat the No. 2 Lady Blues in a game of basketball, 76-63.

“Turnover wise, we’ve played them before in practice and we’ve had a hard time with turnovers and I thought tonight we held the number to a decent number, normally we’re out rebounded by them and we battled hard in the rebound area. I want to win every game we play, but I don’t think it was our goal tonight. We had to get some kids on the floor and see who can play and can’t play,” said head coach Ron McHenry.

The Lady Blues, who returned three starters from last year’s NCAA Division II National Championship, were down by one with 16:03 left in the first half, and were never able to retake the lead.

“It was a good game. We have scrimaged the golf team four or five times in practice. We always tape it and keep stats. We played them pretty tough when it came to a game situation and not a practice. I wasn’t disappointed in our effort at all. We have things to work on still, but that will come. It’s only our first exhibition game,” said senior point guard April Roadhouse.

Roadhouse, who averaged just below four points a game last year, had just one basket in Friday’s contest. McHenry would love for Roadhouse to shoot the ball more, but says she and the team can stay successful if she chooses to maintain her role as a passer and defender.

“She can still defend it and rebound it, she produces numbers in other areas. We would like her to knock some shots down, but we’re not going to live or die by that still. Hopefully we’ll have some kids step up and shoot it, but that’s going to change throughout the year,” said McHenry.

Players that will be helping Roadhouse out this year will include the Lady Blues’ newcomers who had a combined 20 points against the Ichabod golfers. Freshman guard, Stephanie Wittman from Salina, Kan. showed she had no trouble adjusting to the college game as she hit 3-7, for nine points, and had three rebounds.

“She’s a scorer. I was glad she had her head up. We didn’t know whether she was going to play tonight. She did some nice things and she can shoot the ball, and we need some shooters,” said McHenry.

The other scorer, was the leading scorer on last year’s team, senior Jennifer Harris. Harris went 5-13 for 13 points.

The Lady Blues will feel comfortable in next Sunday’s exhibition matchup, as they are no stranger to their opponent the UMKC Kangaroos. The Roos were forced to bounce back a couple of steps the last time these two teams met as the Lady Blues showed the basketball world their dominance as they defeated the D-I Roos, 87-54.

“It’s not going to be a walkover like last time. It’s going to be tough. We actually recruited a girl for this year who went to UMKC. So we want to show her what she is missing out on. But it will be a tough game, but it’s at home so we will have the crowd behind us,” said Roadhouse.

A walkover is far from likely to happen this time around as the Roos, like the Lady Blues, return three starters this year. UMKC finished the 2004-2005 season, 10-20 and tied for seventh in the Mid Continent Conference.

“It’s going to be good to see where we progress over the next week and a half. It’s a learning process and the next time we get to evaluate ourselves is against UMKC. I’m looking forward to this group. Tonight, they were staying together, working hard together. They did what I asked them to do. I asked to play hard and compete and I thought they did that,” said McHenry.

The MIAA preseason coaches poll was announced Wednesday, the Lady Blues were picked, as expected, No. 1, followed by rival Emporia State. The Lady Blues took three of four matchups last year. Next Sunday’s game is at home with a 4 p.m. tip off.