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Lady Patriots experiencing growing pains

January 18, 2016

By: CHRIS PRIDE

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) women’s basketball coach Brian Henderson understands the process and time it takes to jell a group of newly formed freshmen. He also knows all too well the learning curve they experience during that development.

A quicker pace to the game is one of many challenges freshmen face when adapting to a new style of play. It’s been the Lady Patriots’ lack of pace early in games, however, that has Henderson concerned lately.

The Lady Patriots were plagued in a pair of losses last week by stagnant first quarters on both sides of the ball. With a team currently not built to play from behind for long stretches during the course of 40 minutes, more consistent starts are a focal point. Finding ways to be stronger in the opening minutes, Henderson said, is just one example of how the team continues to learn and build for the future.

The pace is a lot quicker and the strategy is more mental which are things they’re still learning. That’s the learning curve, knowing we have freshman,” Henderson said. “Being able to finish over someone that is just as big or even taller than you is something we consistently work on. They just need to believe they can make that shot.”

Sophomore forward Kim Martin of Bassett High School said a lack of confidence may be a factor, as well, in why the team has suffered a few slow starts as of late. There are times she believes her teammates come out intimidated against certain teams, and that it takes a while for them to fall into the flow of the game. But, as they start to play more games, she expects those nerves to go away.

“It’s a different pace and it’s different rules, like having a shot clock for example,” Martin said. “The post players are much bigger than in high school and it can also be hard learning how to play with new teammates.”

Patriots assistant coach Howard Graves said part of the problem the freshman also face is their inability to understand the quickness of the college game. He added that being able to better anticipate their opponent’s tendencies will help them be more competitive from the outset. Things they got away with in high school aren’t as easy once they get to college.

“It’s not fully understanding that half a second you don’t get as a college player that you used to get in high school. Recognition of what a player does is all part of the learning curve,” Graves said.

While the women continue to learn how to put a full 40 minutes together, keeping the game close over the first 10 minutes will only help their cause. Henderson said staying out of foul trouble and executing around the basket are ways the team can maintain more possession-for-possession starts.

Filed under: Women's Basketball

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