A pair of 20-point victories to start their home season has the MSU Denver women’s basketball team flying high.
The Roadrunners took both of their matchups in the Holiday Inn Denver Cherry Creek Classic on Nov. 25 and 26. They first beat the Bemidji State University Beavers, then the William Jewell College Cardinals to climb to 4-2 on the season and push their winning streak to four games. While the other invitational participants saw closer contests, MSU Denver handily won their matches, and have confidence building in their team as a result.
“It’s great that we’re getting a little better each day trying to head into conference,” head coach Tanya Haave said. “I think we learned a lot about each other, got some rotations down, figured some things out. The girls are getting comfortable playing with each other.”
The Roadrunners outscored the Beavers by 20 points and the Cardinals by 24, cruising to wins in easy fashion. In both games, they did not trail beyond the first quarter. In all eight quarters played, they outscored their opponents, preventing their competition from reaching five points in a period on three occasions.
Against BSU, the Roadrunners fell behind 9-0 early, but erased that deficit in four-and-a-half minutes and would not trail for the rest of the game. Senior Georgia Ohrdorf recorded 17 points on eight field goals and a free throw. Junior Jaelynn Smith came up one rebound and two assists short of a triple-double, and went on to record 21 total rebounds during the weekend.
“I take big pride in rebounding,” the 5-foot-7-inch guard said. “They think I’m little, but I don’t believe so.”
In game two, Smith’s rebounding prowess was a central figure in the Roadrunners’ best defensive game of the season. William Jewell managed only 35 points, in no small part thanks to Smith’s seven defensive rebounds. However, despite leading for the final 34 minutes of the game, MSU Denver did face some adversity. Ohrdorf, the team’s leading scorer in four of the team’s past five games, was called for two personal fouls in the first three minutes of the game, forcing Haave’s hand to sub her out early in the game. She played a season-low 15 minutes and even though she added 10 points in the second half, left the Roadrunners without their top scorer and a need to adapt.
“There’s some people that are ready to step in when times like that happen,” said senior J’Nae Squires-Horton, who led the team in points for the first time this season in Ohrdorf’s void. “People are just ready to play and come out there and give everything they have. When Georgia’s in foul trouble, we have other people ready to step up.”
With confidence in their abilities to overcome adversity reinforced, the Roadrunners enter conference play on Dec. 1 in Rapid City, South Dakota. After getting their first home tests out of the way and passing with flying colors, the team moves on to their more important schedule knowing they can trust their depth and adaptability.