Bob Boldon, head women’s basketball coach, walked into Monday’s press conference focused on the future rather than the past.
The Penguins suffered their fourth league loss Saturday at the hands of Loyola University Chicago. After tying at 58 and with less than two minutes remaining, they fell to a final score of 67-59.
Though it would have been easy for Boldon to blame the loss on the short 41-hour turnaround from Thursday’s game against Cleveland State University, he made no excuses for his team’s performance.
“We didn’t play well enough to win,” he said.
The Penguins have four regular season games remaining, three of which will be played at Beeghly Center over a five-day span.
They already played all four teams earlier in the season, coming away with three victories and a lone loss against Valparaiso University.
This time around, having a home-court advantage and not having to travel will certainly play into the Penguins’ favor. However, Boldon isn’t taking the competition lightly.
“Our challenge is that the second time we play people, we haven’t been able to match their intensity,” he said.
While Boldon said that Thursday’s game against the University of Illinois at Chicago will be a tough match, he added that it’s a challenge the team will be ready for.
However, it would take a “better effort” to come away with a victory against the Flames.
The Penguins have sole possession of second place in the Horizon League (18-7 overall, 8-4 HL). A win against UIC would guarantee YSU a finish of no worse than fourth in the league and a home game in the HL tournament.
“This weekend’s very important for us to finish the work that we started back in the fall and throughout the nonconference and the beginning of the conference schedule,” Boldon said.
Boldon said that while shooting inconsistencies may be the easiest thing for others to focus on when it comes to his team’s deficiencies, he believes that the team hasn’t been playing to its defensive potential.
“I think the last 10 days, our defensive effort has been right around average, and we’ve been able to do enough to win a couple of those games, and a couple times we haven’t,” he said.
With player Heidi Schlegel out for the UIC game, the Penguins will need contributions from various players. The last time UIC and YSU met, five Penguins were able to score more than seven points.
One of those players hoping to help ease the scoring load is junior Melissa Thompson, who matched her season high of 13 points in the last game against Loyola.
Thompson said it’s important for both starters and bench players to pick up the slack and chip in more than usual.
“[Schlegel’s] a big piece of the puzzle. She provides a lot of energy, defense, offense,” Thompson said.
While taking games one at a time, Thompson said the team is still focused on keeping its second place position in the league.
“We want to finish out with all wins. Every time we step on the court, our goal is to win,” she said. “It’s not to stick around or try not to lose. We want to win the game.”