It sure was great to see our Lady Boiler basketball team pounce on IU last night. We really filled out the stat sheet in virtually all aspects of the game. Granted, IU is not Michigan or Penn State, but they did come out surprisingly strong in non-conference play. I have to think they had a lot of home games and not as stiff of competition as our team did in non-conference play.
Hopefully this is the turning point for our conference season. We will find out real soon at Nebraska with only one day's rest. We have proven that we can beat Nebraska. But at their house, we will need another complete game such as the ones we played against IU and Penn State. Despite the obvious great shooting, our D and rebounding were outstanding last evening.
It wasn't that surprising to see Houser and Moses bounce back, but Bays just really got into the zone. Played out of her mind. That right there can free up our jump shots. Redmon and Clemons also did a solid job inside. Not that any loss is a good thing, but perhaps it took the home loss to Michigan to wake up our team and get them focused for the rest of the conference schedule. It is still almost any team's conference to win, and no opponent including Illinois can be overlooked in one game.We cannot count on that level of shooting game in and game out, so it is at least comforting that our team has been working hard to get more rebounds and cut down on turnovers. Those are still two critical areas where we need to focus. 52 rebounds in a game is definitely getting it done. We also had perhaps our best assist to turnover ratio of the season. For someone who follows closely our Boiler football team and both basketball teams, it is refreshing that in the sport of basketball both our men's and women's team, although putting up some really subpar performances, can bounce back and get a good win. We waited all of football season and that never happened. Hopefully next football season will at least be better, after all how can it be worse? Our men's basketball team showed some resiliency in the wins at West Virginia and Illinois, giving us at least some hope of getting into the NCAA tournament. We will see how our women's basketball team carries on for the rest of the conference season. Yes they have definitely lost some games that they shouldn't have. But let's not throw in the towel just yet. If your team is going to learn from some bad games, at least it should be better to get over that earlier in conference play than down the stretch and into the Big Ten women's basketball tournament. Yes I am still optimistic, but it is a cautious optimism. At least we have seen them play with great effort.
As for whether we should be ranked in the top 25, I can certainly see us not ranked after the loss to Michigan at home. Let's just see what we do at Nebraska. We are not intimidated by them, as we have shown in past games, especially in the Big Ten tournament. But face it, Connie Yori is a topnotch coach and she has plenty of weapons to work with. If we hang in there until the end or even pull the upset, perhaps we should still be ranked. If we get beat badly, we will probably fall out of the top 25. I am more concerned with us turning around our conference record, than what we are ranked. Say what you will, our Lady Boilers have tended to play well at the back side of conference play and into the tournaments. Hopefully that will be the case this year as well.