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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

December 18, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Sports

Blue and Gold look to set the tempo on defense

Despite allowing 70 or more points in a game only twice last season, the women’s basketball team has given up 70-plus points twice already this year.

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From left, SUNY-Potsdam sophomore Taylor Bacon looks for a pass as senior forward Jane DeBiasse defends in the Bombers’ 65–41 home win Sunday. RACHEL ORLOW/THE ITHACAN

In losses to the University of Rochester and Mount Saint Mary College on Nov. 19 and 20 at the Chuck Resler Invitational in Rochester, N.Y., the Bombers gave up 92 and 79 points, respectively.

The losses dropped the South Hill squad to 1–2 on the season before the Blue and Gold improved their record to 2–3 with a 65–41 win over visiting SUNY-Potsdam on Sunday and a 67–55 loss to SUNY-Cortland on Tuesday. In the game against Potsdam, the team’s defense stepped it up, allowing less than half the number of points it allowed to Rochester nine days earlier.

Senior forward Jordan Confessore said the win was in large part because of the Blue and Gold’s improvement on the defensive end.

Confessore said the team’s defense has been a top priority this year, and the defense also helps fuel the offense.

“The past couple practices we’ve been working on being intense on defense and bumping up the intensity a little bit,” Confessore said. “We’re working on that because we think our defense will spark our offense. When we play good defense we tend to play better offense, everything works out better and we play more fluently.”

After trailing 26–24 at the half in the game against Potsdam, the Blue and Gold turned up the heat on defense in the second half and held Potsdam to just four field goals. While Potsdam struggled to find the basket, the Bombers went on a 41–15 run and turned the halftime deficit into a second half blowout.

Head Coach Dan Raymond said the defensive mind-set starts in practice, and the Bombers need to make other teams work for their points.

“Defensively we allowed teams to get any shot they want,” Raymond said. “That’s not acceptable. It’s not really anything tactical that we had to work on it was just that mind-set — committing to challenging every shot and committing to it in practice so that it becomes a habit in games.”

Raymond also said a reason for the team’s losses was that he still hasn’t figured out what mix of players works best together on the court.

Raymond said determining those lineups is a priority because playing as a unit will give the Blue and Gold a better chance to win.

“The biggest thing is trying to make sure that I do a good job of finding the right combinations that are going to work during certain situations in games,” Raymond said. “It’s easy to sit in the stands and make those decisions, but when you’re in practice and on the court, that’s the challenge that’s facing me right now.”

Senior forward Jane DeBiasse said the work the team has been putting in to correct these problems showed in the Bombers’ win over Potsdam.

“Rochester and Mount Saint Mary showed us that we had to get it done on both ends of the court to be successful,” DeBiasse said. “We focused on it during practice, and it really showed it in the game. It’s something that will only helping us, and it’ll only help us in the future too.”