Ashleigh Curry comes off bench
By Thomas Huitt-Johnson
January 16, 2012
Ashleigh Curry stepped back on the hardwood Saturday afternoon and immediately knocked down a trey.
The senior, who hasn’t played in four-and-a-half seasons, came off the bench and scored 25 points, but Missouri Western fell to Central Missouri 72-67.
The five-point loss isn’t too bad as of now for the Griffons. Coming up this week, if they can play the way they have to start the 2012 season, Western (5-9, 3-6) may start a new winning streak, and take down a No. 1 team in the process.
Tuesday, the Griffons hit the road for the second-straight game and take on Southwest Baptist.
The Bearcats (5-9, 1-8) are currently placed at No. 10 in the MIAA. They are the only team the Griffons have not played yet in the conference. It’s a winnable game, and the team knows this. In their games against Northwest Missouri State, Lincoln and Truman State, the exact same situation occurred. Western knew they were the favorites in each game and pulled a win in all three.
There are two differences in this game – this one is on the road. The Griffons are 2-6 on the road and haven’t won an MIAA road game yet. If Western, who started off slow against Central, can start out quick and knock down shots early, the Griffons should pull the win out.
The other difference — Curry is back. She could possibly be the best player in the conference. If she isn’t, perhaps her teammate Jessica Koch is. With both playing, the Griffons are excited about their chances of winning the rest of the season.
Saturday afternoon Western returns home and plays Pittsburg State, top team in the MIAA.
These two teams met Nov. 30, and it wasn’t close. The problem with the first game wasn’t a slow start, but a bad finish. Western was only down by 11 at the half. Leading MIAA scorer Jessica Koch ended the game with 24 points, and now with another scorer — Curry — either, possibly both, can put down 20-a-night.
Alicia Bell, who has been a hustler around the basket, especially on the offensive end as the guard has 47 offensive boards, and Center Brittany Griswold also provide quality help for Koch and Curry.
Pittsburg’s (15-1, 9-1) only loss was home against No. 2 Washburn. Pittsburg leads the MIAA in scoring, but also play tough defense as it is also the leader in blocked shots. Western, who have been better on offense since the calendar year starter, needs to score, hit 3s and not turn the ball over in order to keep the game tight so it can win the game.