Jack Lambert offers his thoughts on the Tribe’s 66-48 loss to ODU Thursday night.
Benson’s scoring key for Tribe
Junior forward Tiffany Benson’s layup with 32 seconds left in the game was the Tribe’s second field goal since the 13-minute mark of the second half. The College’s offensive struggles can be directly attributed Benson’s absence (she spent six minutes on the bench in the second half).
When Benson is not on the floor, the Tribe often fails to rebound and run on the fast break. Also, without Benson’s presence inside, the Monarchs pressured the Tribe’s outside shooters, taking away the easy looks, which senior guard Dani Kell and freshman guard Janine Aldridge were finding in the first half.
Rookie Aldridge elevating game
Coach Debbie Taylor has something special in Janine Aldridge. She has always been able to score, but now she has transformed from being a liability on the defensive end into a key cog in the Tribe’s matchup zone.
If Aldridge hits the weight room this offseason and develops a midrange game off the dribble, she will be a presence on the all-CAA team for years to come.
Burden falls on Kell
Kell is being asked to do too much. When Benson is not on the floor, she becomes the Tribe’s main interior defender, its best rebounder and its best option on the offensive end.
While Benson usually works in the low post, Kell — a guard/forward — is a perimeter player, who often works off screens to create her own shot. Plus, Kell occasionally has to bring the ball up the floor. All of these responsibilities are adding up to leave the Tribe’s senior leader seemingly exhausted at the end of games.
Where was junior forward Lauren Aadland?
The 6-2 junior is currently averaging 4.3 rebounds per game — third on the team — but only played eight minutes versus ODU. Freshman forward Courtney Flynn was playing well; still, it would have been interesting to see if Aadland could have helped the Tribe overcome a 12-rebound deficit between the two teams if she had been on the floor more than eight minutes.
Tribe’s struggles with inbound plays continue
The College failed to inbound the ball twice, once on the sideline and once under their own basket. The miscues resulted in only one turnover, but a failure to get the ball in bounds has been a recurring issue for the Tribe this season and needs to be fixed as they hit the heart of CAA play.
Home-team support lacking
It’s one thing that the lower sections of Kaplan Arena were packed with ODU fans — the Monarchs always travel well and the College is about an hour from the Norfolk campus. However, probably 75 percent of the fans pulled for the Monarchs. In a televised game against the conference leader, the Tribe’s fan support for a team off to a surprisingly good start was decidedly lacking.