Crusaders Open Season with a Rough Road Loss

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It was far from the opener the University of Dallas women’s basketball team was hoping for Tuesday night, as they dropped their first game of the season to Hendrix College 48-64.

The Crusaders actually started well, opening the game with a 10-4 lead, but things only got worse from there as Hendrix went on a 2-17 run to close the first quarter, leading 12-21 after the opening frame. UD built their early lead largely on well-executed set plays and getting the ball inside, but they got away from that and never recovered.

“I thought in the first quarter we pushed the ball and drove to the basket and got to the rim and got fouls called and we got away from that and started being passive,” Head Coach Greta Grothe said. “That’s not our game this year. We need to be able to push the ball more.”

“[Tuesday] was hard because we are capable of playing so much better,” junior forward Michelle DeCoud said. “I think we were still working out some nerves and kinks in our offense.”

DeCoud stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 19 rebounds, and 6 blocks, but had little help from her teammates, and Hendrix’s post players had their way inside. Centers Madison Martin and Leigh James combined for 29 of Hendrix’s 64 points.

One bright spot for the Crusaders, however, was the performances of freshmen guards Celsi Caraway and Panda Green. Caraway started and poured in 15 points and 5 rebounds while leading the team in play time with 35 minutes. Green led all bench players with 16 minutes, adding two points and four rebounds herself.

“They really stepped up and contributed,” DeCoud said.

“Our newcomers did what they needed to do,” Grothe said, “Now it’s a question of ‘can our upperclassmen do what they need to do?’”

Grothe also praised Caraway specifically, saying, “I thought Celsi played really well.”

Obviously no one was happy with how the game unfolded, and Grothe went so far as to say they were out-prepared, and “weren’t up to par” defensively.

Despite the loss, the Crusaders are ready to move on with their season, as they tip off against Fontbonne University on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Maher Center in their home opener.

“We’ll be okay, but overall I think we just need to be better,” Grothe said. “We’re excited about Friday.”

DeCoud says the team is also ready to move on to Friday, saying, “It comes down to us getting in the gym, getting shots up, and coming out ready to play the next game from the jump.”

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