MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. -- Dominance continued at Wabash Valley College on Wednesday night as the Lady Warriors continued their imposing start to the season, defeating Southeastern Illinois College 96-60 in the opener of a men's-women's basketball doubleheader to open the season 8-0.
Much as the case has been early this season, it was apparent early that this game would be all Wabash Valley (8-0). -- they scored on the opening tipoff via a layup by freshman Keya Patton and never looked back -- seizing a 33-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
SIC had significant struggles against the taller Lady Warriors, evident by the 13.3 field goal percentage in the first quarter, as well as the 27.8 percentage in the second quarter -- a stark contrast to WVC's 51.5 field goal percentage through the first two quarters. Their steal numbers were also indicative of the problems they caused suffocating SIC with their press and pressure, recording 17 steals on the night, including five from sophomore Marie Hunter.
"I thought we came out really aggressive, focused, which was great to see," Wabash Valley College head women's basketball coach Jack Trosper said. "Our press gave them problems early. I thought we were aggressive offensively, attacking downhill, playing the paint and not just settling for jump shots which allowed us to get that lead."
Their dominant display continued in the second quarter, outscoring SIC 21-11 en route to a 54-21 halftime lead. With the game well away, it appeared the Lady Warriors took their foot off the gas pedal at times in the second half, which wasn't a pleasant sight to coach Trosper, who was still coaching his team to close it strong despite the rout.
Still, the rout ensued in the second half, with their lead reaching as high as 46 en route to the 36 point victory.
Coach Trosper had the luxury of diving deep into his roster with playing time, the highest minute total on the team coming from Patton who played 21 minutes.
"When you have a lead, to have the maturity to continue to play hard when you're up," coach Trosper spoke of how his team managed the lead. "There's definitely some things we can work on, the good thing is we have that depth so our competitions in practice are going to be strong. If the girls want to earn the kind of minutes that they want they're going to have to keep showing it in practice.
The Lady Warriors dominated across the box score, boasting 21 assists to their 13 turnovers, a pretty solid assist to turnover ratio. Along with that, they outrebounded SIC 58-32 -- WVC had SIC significantly outsized at nearly every position and they took advantage.
"It's important we share the ball," coach Trosper said. "We don't have a dominant scorer, so we don't really know who's going to lead us in scoring from night to night, which is great for us because we don't have any selfishness on our team. Our ladies move the ball, they don't care who's scoring, they just want to find the best shot.
"We had a mismatch inside and we wanted to exploit it as much as we could," coach Trosper said. "Our girls were just a little overmatched for them, so it was just great to see our girls could take advantage of it. In the league we'll have a size advantage in a lot of games so we want to see them do some different things to get themselves going, even when we're not calling a play for them, they can generate points from offensive rebounds or second chance points, different things like that."
Four Lady Aces finished in double digits scoring in this one, Patton with 16 points, sophomore Dazha Congleton had 14 points, Hunter with 13 and Pearl Dean with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds for a near double-double.
Remaining unblemished, the Lady Warriors have opened the season near flawlessly. They'll face conference foe John A. Logan on Saturday on the road at 1 p.m.. The Vols enter the game sitting at 4-3 and coach Trosper hopes his team continues their focused play heading into that game. Their next home game will come on Tuesday, Dec. 4 against Lindenwood Belleville JV. The game is set to tip at 5:30 p.m..