Tigerettes post three road wins

11/30/2011

NEW ORLEANS, La. –  The Tigerettes picked up three impressive victories during the week, including an overtime road win in their SIAC opener, as they improved their record to 4-1.

The Tigerettes opened the week with a 72-65 conference victory at Clark Atlanta on Tuesday, and they ended it with a pair of victories in the Xavier Classic in New Orleans. They defeated the University of Mobile 61-58 on Thanksgiving Day, followed by a 66-52 win against Texas College Friday.

“Overall we’re getting better,’’ Coach Belinda Roby said. “We’re improving. We’re coming together.’’

Roby continues to be pleased with the Tigerettes’ depth, which allows her to go to the bench with little or no drop-off in intensity or production. However, the Tigerettes’ rebounding concerns her.

“That’s one of our weakest areas,’’ she says.

The Tigerettes have been outrebounded 240-224 in five games.

The Tigerettes have a three-game winning streak, and their 4-1 record is a dramatic turnaround from their 2-4 start last year. However, Roby is not satisfied with the team’s play from game-to-game.

“The problem is we have to get them to be consistent, to play good back-to-back,’’ she said. “That’s something we have to work on as a unit now that we’re getting into conference games. It starts in practice. As a coach, you turn heat up in practice whether it’s the conditioning part or drills.  But it starts in practice.’’

The Tigerettes have home conference games against Albany State Dec. 5 and Claflin Dec. 13, and then they don’t play again until Jan. 2.

Defense was the key for the Tigerettes in their win against Clark Atlanta. They held the Lady Panthers to just eight points in the overtime period and 30% shooting from the field (3-for-10).

“That was an important win,’’ Roby said. “It was big because anytime you open conference play in somebody else’s gym, and you can go in there and get a win, you’ve done something.’’

Sophomore Alondra Rivers, who was named SIAC Newcomer of the Week, was the catalyst for the Tigerettes. Rivers led the Tigerettes with 16 points, but it was her defense against Conisha Hicks, the SIAC’s leading scorer last season, when she averaged 20.2 points a game. Rivers held her to just 10 points on three-for-10 shooting.

“She’s one of the best defensive players I’ve had in the last eight years,’’ Roby said. “She can lock down anybody, and she takes pride in her defense too. That type doesn’t come along too often.’’

The Tigerettes have played in the Xavier Classic regularly during Roby’s tenure. But this is the first that they have gone 2-0.

“It’s a good tournament with good competition,’’ Roby said. “Going 2-0 tells me we have players who can play defense. That’s the key. They can turn it up a notch. This is the best defensive team that I’ve had in the last three years.’’

The Tigerettes held Mobile to 27% (8-for-29) in the first half, and their defense was air tight down the stretch as they held on to win.

Ameila Dorton led the Tigerettes with 14 points. Nnena Eza had 12, and Jennifer Anoka added 11.

The Tigerettes disposed of Texas College with a strong first half in their second game in the Xavier Classic. They only allowed five field goals in the opening 20 minutes and led 33-18 going into the second half. Texas College shot just 22% (11-for-50) for the game. Rivers had another big game scoring as she led the Tigerettes with 22 points, mostly on fast break layups.

“She’s so quick,’’ Roby says. “She ends beating everybody else down to get a lay up. Her teammates saw her running and got the ball to her.’’

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