Communication, depth key to turnaround
After a loss to TCU, the Cougars said they are determined to get back to winning. Before the 60-51 loss, the team brushed off a 0-4 start to win four games in a row.
The Cougars have picked up their defense. They were giving up 78 points per game, but during this 4-1 run, the defense gave up 52 points per game.
“We haven’t made any adjustments; it’s more on the kids. They’ve bought in, and quite frankly, they were just tired of getting beat,” said head coach Todd Buchanan. “Their enthusiasm is on a new level, as well as their sense of urgency.”
Freshman forward Marche’ Amerson said communication has been key to their turnaround.
“In the beginning, we didn’t talk as much as we do now; we communicate more on screens, letting players know when there are cutters heading to the basket,” Amerson said. “I would definitely say that is the biggest difference from our losing streak to our winning streak: communication.”
A number of different players have made contributions to the team, said junior forward Marissa Ashton, who came off the bench and poured in 22 against New Mexico.
“When the subs come in from off the bench, there’s no let-up. We’ll continue to fix the little mental errors, and when we do this, we’ll be a very dangerous team in these upcoming games,” Ashton said.
However, there will inevitably come a time in late-game situations when a go-to player is necessary. Buchanan said he is not worried about this at all because he has options.
“It’s predicated on where we have the ball on the floor. Nine times out of 10, we would like to have it in Porsche Landry’s hands. Marissa (Ashton) is an option, in which she has been shooting the ball well,” Buchanan said. “If we need a quick basket and maybe draw a foul, I think Alecia Smith is a good one, also maybe isolating Te’onna Campbell. We have multiple options, but at the end of the day, we’re going to put that on Porsche.”