Only two games into the season, there’s already a buzzword floating around the women’s locker room at Newman Arena.
“We need to continue to be aggressive,” said junior guard Virginia McMunigal.
The women’s basketball team will take its new mantra to Indianapolis tomorrow determined to pull off an upset win against non-conference foe IUPUI.
In its first game of the year, against Duquesne, the Red saw what can happen when its lacks that aggressive style of play that head coach Dayna Smith has preached in practice. Out-rebounded, out-hustled, and simply out-played, the team knew there were improvements that needed to be made.
“You can learn a lot from statistics, and I think rebounding and turnovers were two big mistakes from the Duquesne game,” said McMunigal.[img_assist|nid=33805|title=Dirty handles|desc=Junior point guard Lauren Benson is leading the Red in assists and is second in scoring this year. The Red travels to Indianapolis this weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Fortunately for the Red, it was able to improve its play and raise the intensity to pick up a win against Albany in the squad’s second game.
“I think every game right now is a test, and we need to learn a lot from every one,” said junior guard Allie Fedorowicz.
Against the Jaguars (2-1) however, the challenge looks to get much tougher. The IUPUI basketball program has gained some national recognition in recent years, and has had opportunities to face top, major conference teams, such as Purdue, Cincinnati and Kentucky.
Like the Red, the Jaguars are coming off a strong win. On Wednesday, IUPUI defeated IU-Southeast, 66-40, at home. Guard Nicole James scored a team-high 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while forward Jernisha Cann notched a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
On the year, Cann is averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds per game, while James has been a sharp shooter, hitting 52 percent of her shots from the field.
The Red, however, is not allowing itself to get concerned about its tough upcoming opponent.
“We are really focusing on our game,” said Fedorowicz, echoing a similar sentiment from Smith. “We’re going to continue to stress team defense, our intensity and our energy. We need to have it for a whole 40 minutes.”
“We want to continue to work on our defense and continue to develop as a team and make sure we are playing together,” McMunigal said.
The team will look to Fedorowicz to continue to provide a strong offensive contribution and capitalize on scoring opportunities. The two-guard is leading the Red with 14.5 points a game, and is shooting an outstanding 44 percent from the behind the arc.
At the point, junior Lauren Benson has provided outstanding leadership and consistent, efficient play for a team that features only two seniors (forward Shannan Scarselletta, a Sun columnist, and guard Lacey Workman). Against IUPUI, Smith and the rest of the coaching staff will rely on Benson and her role as on-court General.
“We need her to run our team,” Smith said.
On the season, Benson is leading the team with 13 total assists and 35 minutes per game. She is second behind Fedorowicz with 9.0 points per game.
The game will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow in IUPUI’s home court, nicknamed “The Jungle.”