Archive for Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Lady ‘Cats looking for identity

December 24, 2003

The Lady 'Cats' defense keeps getting better, but it hasn't been able to carry an offense that is still struggling to find its identity following point guard Alex Jeannin's knee injury.

Basehor ended up with 22 points for the third time in five games and failed to get its first win of the season with a 40-22 defeat at Lansing on Friday.

The Bobcats and coach Mardy Robinson got some good news last week, though, as a visit to the doctor revealed that Jeannin, who suffered a partial rupture of her anterior cruciate ligament in the second game of the season, will be able to return to action after winter break.

The senior, who was expected to lead an up-tempo offense this year and had a team-high six assists in her only full game, will wear a knee brace and may be limited in what she can do because there is still risk of aggravating the injury.

"There's always a chance of that," Robinson said. "The brace doesn't offer full protection, so she's going to have to be careful."

With Jeannin out, the Lady 'Cats have been forced to change their style of play to a more defense-oriented approach, which was in evidence against Lansing. Despite their own difficulties scoring, Basehor was able to stay in the game by scrapping and clawing to create turnovers.

"We used to be an offensive team so now we've kind of switched," senior Ashley Odle said. "We're a really big defensive team now, and that's what I'm good at so I'm really into that."

Younger players have also been thrust into bigger roles since Jeannin's injury.

Junior Samantha Paterson and freshman Tiffany Waxmonski have shared time at the point and have both shown a potentially potent blend of height and quickness.

Paterson led the Basehor offense with five points against Lansing, and Waxmonski dribbled the length of the floor and knocked down a three-pointer at the final buzzer. They also made their presence felt defensively, combining for five steals.

Still, though the two are improving with every game, their inexperience has shown at times, especially against full-court pressure.

Robinson isn't content to let this be a rebuilding year for Basehor -- she wants to win now, but she's not willing to put all the responsibility for that turnaround on Jeannin's shoulders.

"Alex has those leadership qualities, but we're also expecting our other seniors to step up," Robinson said.

The senior who has perhaps felt Jeannin's absence most strongly is Kelly Schaffer. Schaffer, a long-range bomber, showed great chemistry with Jeannin in the season-opener, at one point hitting three straight three-pointers off assists from her backcourt mate. Without Jeannin in the lineup to draw the defense, Schaffer has had trouble getting open looks.

Jeannin's return, even if she's not 100 percent, should give the team a spark and take some pressure off the younger Bobcats.

"Tiffany's good but she's not as experienced as Alex," Odle said. "I'm sure Alex will help a lot when she comes back, and we're all looking forward to her coming back."

The winter break, besides giving Jeannin more time to recover, should also give the rest of the Lady 'Cats a chance to put their tough start behind them.

"I'd like to keep improving, but it might be good to get away for awhile and come back with a fresh start," Robinson said. "We need a fresh start."

After the break the 'Lady Cats will return to play Santa Fe Trail at home on Tuesday, Jan. 6.

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