Beacons finding their groove.
With a rebuilt starting lineup and the loss of one of the most productive players in program history, the new-look Northwest Christian University women's basketball team has encountered some expected hurdles through the first month of the season.
But the Beacons (3-6) have also shown flashes of being a pretty good team, sixth-year coach Liz Turner-Bolton said.
"We definitely have some talent, it's just trying to find a way to play together," she said. "When we click, it's a pretty amazing thing to watch. We know we're capable of playing to that level."
It's not going to get any easier for NCU, which begins the heart of its Cascade Collegiate Conference schedule Friday with a game at Morse Event Center against Northwest University at 5:30 p.m.
The Beacons went 3-5 in nonconference play and also snuck in their league opener against Corban two weeks ago, losing 70-59.
Now there's a chance they could be without their top player. Tami Brown, a 6-foot-2 senior post who is dealing with a left leg injury that might derail her for an extended period of time.
"Tami's had a great year for us, but she's potentially got a fibular stress fracture forming," Turner-Bolton said. "Just as she was starting to find her niche, we're looking at a four-to-six week window where we're going to have to modify or completely curtail her involvement."
Brown is averaging a double-double with 11.4 points and a team-high 10.6 rebounds.
"It's a tough break and it comes at a time where we're trying to learn to play together and find our chemistry and collective team strength," Turner-Bolton said.
So far that strength has come inside for NCU, where Brown and 6-1 sophomore post Andrea Gloss (9.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) have formed a formidable frontcourt.
"Our post play definitely made an impact early on the season," Turner-Bolton said. "Andrea and Tami have been a pretty consistent presence in the paint."
The Beacons' starting backcourt includes a pair of junior college transfers in their first season at NCU. Point guard Hannah Frederick, a 5-5 junior leads the Beacons in scoring with 12.9 per game, and 5-6 junior guard Allie Kelsey averages 8.3 points.
Also starting is sophomore guard Sami Pitts from Marist High School. Pitts is averaging 9.8 points, a significant increase from her 1.5 points per game average in 26 games last season.
"Sami Pitts is having a great year," Turner-Bolton said. "She's started the year off incredibly well on both sides of the ball. She just worked very, very hard over the offseason to get that starting role."
No doubt NCU would like to finish no worse than last season, when it went 13-17 - its best record in six years playing in the NAIA ranks.
However, the Beacons lost four starters and five seniors from that team, including do-everything forward Lindsey Shearer, the school's single-season record-holder for points, rebounds, double-doubles, field goals made and field goals attempted.
She also ranks second all-time in scoring and rebounding.
"We're beginning the post-Lindsey Shearer-era," Turner-Bolton said. "We brought in a number of new players and we have some role players stepping into more productive roles, so it's really about learning to play together and finding our groove."
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||College Basketball; Northwest Christian could be without forward Tami Brown as it begins CCC play|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Dec 19, 2013|
|Previous Article:||Alleyne's big night guides Ducks.|
|Next Article:||Mariota says his mind's unchanged.|