Practices on Monday and Tuesday signaled to the TWU basketball team that the Christmas break was over and it was time to get back to work.
The Pioneers (4-5) returned to practice following an NCAA-mandated seven-day break from organized team workouts. Coach Beth Jillson conducted two sessions Monday and two on Tuesday to get the Pioneers geared up for the rest of the season, including a span of three games in six days beginning Thursday.
TWU visits Midwestern State on Thursday to make up a Lone Star Conference opener that was scheduled for Dec. 5 but postponed because of icy weather. The Pioneers will play a LSC game at Tarleton State on Saturday before returning home Tuesday to host Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“Both were full-out practices on Monday,” Jillson said. “It was a long day for them. We felt we needed to review some things with them. We also watched some film from our Vegas trip, and hopefully we’ll learn from that.
“I feel like they all did a good job over the break of doing the things they needed to do.”
TWU enters conference play coming off a pair of disappointing losses at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic on Dec. 19 and 20 in Las Vegas. The Pioneers fell 78-58 to Montana State Billings before losing 80-44 to Western Washington.
Midwestern State enters Thursday’s league opener with an 8-3 record and a five-game winning streak. Tarleton State’s TexAnns are 8-1 and also riding a five-game winning streak.
“It’s a quick turnaround, and we’re starting off playing some of the best conference teams,” Jillson said. “We’ll see where we’re at real quick.”
Balanced and deep
TWU is showing to be a balanced team in which its depth is turning out to be a strength.
Nine players have led the team in scoring in TWU’s nine games. Eight players have finished as the Pioneers’ leading rebounder.
“At the start of the year, I felt like we had a lot of depth and that we didn’t have to rely on just one or two superstars,” Jillson said. “I wish we could show a little more consistency. When we run our offense, be consistent and work together, we’re a hard team to guard.”
Senior guard Rebekah Cluley leads the Pioneers with an average of 11.8 points per game. She’s the only Pioneer averaging double figures, but six others are averaging five or more points per game.
Five Pioneers are averaging four-plus rebounds a game led by senior center Mary Kvotun at 4.9. Cluley is second with 4.7 rebounds.