SVSU streaking as season nears end
February 22, 2010 —
A team’s improvement isn’t always visual in a box score.
As the season has progressed, head coach Shannon Baugh knew the team was making strides. Even so, the results weren’t always evident.
A 66-50 win against Ferris State and a 71-51 win against Grand Valley gives the Cardinals its first three-game winning streak under Baugh’s tenure.
“I’ve known for a while it was only a matter of time before we put together solid games and started a little streak,” Baugh said.
For much of the season, the Cardinals have been the ones on the losing end, coming up short in tight games.
When SVSU traveled to Ferris State earlier in the season, the Bulldogs made a lastsecond shot to defeat the Cardinals.
For Baugh, there is much less stress involved when the Cardinals have the game in hand well before the final minutes.
“It’s nice to not have that feeling like ‘Here we go again, how are we going to lose it this time?’” Baugh said. “It’s a great feeling to have that cushion.”
Against Ferris State, it was a full team effort to get the win. Ten players figured into the scoring.
“Nobody jumps out offensively because we distributed the ball to everyone,” Baugh said. “It’s hard for the defense to stop you when they don’t know who is going to get the ball.”
Ferris State hit its opening shot to take a 2-0 lead. After that, it was all SVSU.
The Cardinals led 31-23 at the half and were able to add onto the lead in the second half.
“There has been a lot of times that we’ve had the lead but given it away in the second half,” Baugh said. “We talked about defense and patience at halftime, and that helped us stay focused.”
SVSU shot 50 percent from the floor, compared to 33 percent for the Bulldogs.
On senior night against Grand Valley, the Cardinals wanted to get the win for its lone senior, forward Jenna Saarela.
“I told the team it was important to send her out the right way,” Baugh said. “She came back because she wanted to, not because she had to.
The first half was a back and forth battle until the Cardinals took over with 2:30 remaining.
Two free throws by junior forward Brittany Burkhardt started a 10-2 that sent the Cardinals into the half leading 33-21. The momentum carried into the second half and allowed the Cardinals to pull away.
“The last two minutes were the key to the game,” Baugh said. “We were able to go on a nice run and came out of the locker room ready to add to it.”
Burkhardt took 20 of the team’s 25 free throws, making 16 of them. She finished with a game-high 31 points. Baugh attributed Burkhardt’s performance to the Ferris State game.
“She didn’t score a whole lot against Ferris, but defensively she was solid,” Baugh said. “She gained a lot of confidence in that game and it carried over against Grand Valley.”
SVSU’s defense held Grand Valley to 32 percent shooting from the field. The Cardinals shot 49 percent.
“Grand Valley was a bit lackadaisical at times and we took advantage of that and were able to create turnovers,” Baugh said.
Turnovers have plagued the Cardinals all season. Against the Lakers, SVSU turned it over 23 times. The difference was the Cardinals were able to force Grand Valley into 24 turnovers.
“When I looked at the stats, I was surprised to see we turned it over that much,” Baugh said. “It was huge to be able to convert Grand Valley’s turnovers into the points that we did."
The Cardinals scored 23 points off the 24 Laker turnovers.
Up next for SVSU is a trip up north to finish the season. Tip off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Northern Michigan. A 1 p.m. start is on deck Saturday against Michigan Tech.
Baugh is confident the Cardinals can add on to the winning streak.
“If we keep playing with the confidence we have, we are capable of closing the season on a high note.”