Head women’s basketball coach Lynn Plett hasn’t gotten off to the best start in his second season at the helm of the Griffons, in fact his team is off to the worst start in the programs history at 0-13.
It’s not as if the Griffons haven’t come close to capturing victory. The Griffons have lost two games by one point, a 77-76 loss to Lincoln Memorial and a 58-57 loss to conference Missouri Southern State, and the most recent loss to Truman State with a score of 56-52. They have also taken their share of lumps this season; notably their 44 point loss to Emporia State. The Griffons just can’t seem to get over that hump and finish out a ball game. Plett expected struggles, but not to this extent.
“I don’t think anybody expects to start 0-13, but we lost three strong players from last year’s team and with the youth on this team, struggles are to be expected,” Plett said.
It hasn’t all been bad for the Griffons. They have been led in scoring by Jessica Koch who has averaged 11.5 points per game. Koch also leads the team in assists per game at 2.8 and is second on the team in rebounds at 4.2 per contest. Tierra Ford and Lauren Nolke are the other two Griffons averaging double figures in points, as they both average 10.4 per game. Ford is also the teams leading rebounder as she averages 5.4 per game. ?The Griffons find themselves in a tough spot as they are trying to rebuild after losing arguably some of the greatest players in the history of the program. They lost three key players from last season’s team: Yanique Javois, Jill Johnson and Chemia Woods. They are just two years removed from being the MIAA champions, but with the losing streak it seems like a distant memory. Now the program is in the hands of sophomores and the sophomores are playing like sophomores.
The Griffons are a young team. On their roster they have no seniors and only three juniors. With many players receiving limited minutes last season and with all the new faces, the Griffons have gotten off to a slow start.
The MIAA is not as tough as it has been in the past, but still bolsters solid teams. The best team in the league is the Washburn Lady Blues. They are currently ranked number three in the country and they have a record of 13-2. The second best team in the league is the Emporia State Hornets, who are ranked number 10 in the country. With a tough conference the Griffons need to continue to grow as a team.
“We have had a few players that have improved and became more consistent, but we need to take that next step and have some other players step for our team,” Plett said. “If we can have eight to nine women playing at a high level, we could become a quality team.”
The Griffons will be back in action against Truman State on Jan. 14 in Kirksville, Mo. Then they will return home for two games, the first being against Central Missouri on Jan. 17 and then they will welcome Southwest Baptist on Jan. 21. Both games are at 5:30 p.m. at the Looney Complex.