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Depth the key in second half for lady Rustlers

Depth the key in second half for lady Rustlers

Posted in By Colin

By Chris Roberts
The Lakeland College Rustlers women’s basketball team finished off their first semester schedule with a 63-47 win over Red Deer College on Saturday.
With the win, the Rustlers improved to 6-3, which is right about where head coach Chris King expected they would be.
“We’re right about where we thought we’d be,” King said on Tuesday. “I think we’re a little bit inconsistent at times, but that’s because of our youth.”
Seven of the Rustlers 14 roster players are in their first year with the team, and it will be those players who ultimately decide how good this team is in the second semester.
Veteran players like Amanda Carlton and Amy Warbrick have been great all season, leading the charge for the Rustlers, but there just hasn’t been enough depth – with those veteran players on the bench, for the most part the Rustlers have been outmatched.
“We’re going to need some bench players to start stepping up, for the most part it’s been the same three or four girls doing most of the scoring, most of the rebounding, defensive work,” added King. “So we’re looking for a couple rookies to step up and provide us some offence that is much needed.”
To put that in perspective, the Rustlers have drained 215 field goals on the season, 158 of which have come from just four players – Carlton, Warbrick, Hannah Crease-McLean and Mariah Van’t Hof.
“ACAC’s a really tough transition for any rookie, we’d like to give them more time of course, but they have to earn that,” began King. “There are a few girls that are starting to step their game up and showing that they can compete at this level and that they have the confidence to play at this level,.That’s the biggest thing is getting them in game situations, seeing good things and giving them a chance to go back out there and repeat it, as of right now it’s just been very inconsistent which happens as rookies.”
The Rustlers do not play another regular season game until Jan. 11, and King mentioned that the team won’t be playing any exhibition games or tournaments over the break, so it will have been over a month since their last game. He is, however, hoping that layoff can be of benefit, particularly for his freshmen.
“I think it’ll be a great chance for them to rejuvenate, when you think about it they’ve already played more games than they do probably in their high school season, we’ve already played over 20 games counting league and exhibition games. Some high school teams only play that many games in a season and we’ve already had about 50 practices, this is like a full season for them, so it’ll be nice for them to get a break, go home, come back and get focused for January, February and March,” he explained.
Second semester will provide a much tougher challenge for the Rustlers – they begin by playing a pair of games each against NAIT and Augustana, who have a combined 16-3 record. King said that, in addition to added contribution from rookies, his team will need to do a better job of taking care of the ball and hitting shots from beyond the three-point line in the second half.
At the break, the Rustlers sit fourth in the ACAC and will likely just need a mediocre second half to advance to the 10-team playoff round.

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