Dr. Sigmund Freud would love this team. But coach Ann Gilbert may need a couch of her own before the season ends.
Take Oberlin's 54-77 loss at Case Western Reserve University on Wednesday - not a great showing until you read the fine print. Only nine of the Yeowomen's 54 points came in the first half, by the end of which they were facing a 29 point hole.
Unfazed by this deficit, in the second half the Yeowomen dominated Case, outscoring them 45 to 39. First-year Monica Bush, who played with an aggravated back, put in 21 points for the game and 13 rebounds. First-year Ikeya Hillman added 12 points. Bush and Hillman declined to comment for this article.
"It's all about how our minds are set," said first-year Chamia Peterson. "We came back and jumped on them [in the second half], but by that time it was a little too late." Oberlin did better a few days before in their win of the year against Lake Erie, whom they had beaten previously over Winter Term.
"They believed [in themselves] against Lake Erie," Gilbert said of the Yeowomen's 61-53 win. "They went out there and set the tempo. Against Allegheny and Case we let them set the tempo."
Mental mistakes and a small, young team have made Oberlin easy picking this year for conference rivals.
"I just don't think the players have enough confidence in themselves," said Gilbert. "They have the talent and [the game] has to become a natural thing. We're doing too much thinking. I think the coaches believe more in the team and the players than the players themselves."
The teams Oberlin faces now are all gearing up for the playoffs, and having had a first look at the Yeowomen, many teams are starting the game with a full-court press - sometimes maintaining it for the entire game, as Allegheny did last Wednesday in their 60-46 win at Oberlin.
Teams see Oberlin's three woman long bench and decide to risk tiring their own starters out. And with only one returning player, the Yeowomen are also prone to make freshman mistakes.
"It's very common to do to a young team," Gilbert said of the full-court press. "They try to get enough padding [in points] and then coast."
Teams have also been focusing defensively on Hillman and Bush, who have been among the NCAC leaders in scoring and rebounds througout the season. The Yeowomen will have to have other players take leadership roles if they want to win any of their last three games.
Oberlin must win two of its final three games to qualify for the NCAC tournament.
These include games against Earlham and Allegheny, whom the Yeowomen have lost to by an average of 15 points, and Denison, who squeaked by Oberlin in a double overtime victory in January.
Gilbert cited all her players as having the potential to take the team to the next level. Peterson, first-year Katy Durham-Hammer, sophomore Nicole James, and senior Toah Nkromah have all scored in double digits in games this season, though none consistently.
First-year Shakila Williams, who left the team at the start of Winter Term, is playing again and has also had solid games in the past.
The Yeowomen will look at theirs best chance of getting the first of the two wins they need to qualify for postseason play this Saturday, when they play at home against Denison.
Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 14; February 14, 1997
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