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College hoops story

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Joshua Armstrong, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. Hey, y'all. I promised myself I'd do this a long time ago. It's easy to just tread water up here, and I feel I'm not improving after my first eight months in sports. Thanks in advance for any help.


    FAIRBANKS -- The Alaska Nanooks women’s basketball team struggled to make shots, tossed risky passes and left a hot shooter wide open while suffering a 28-point drubbing from its biggest rival.

    And by the end, UAF starting point guard Jasmine Marshall was being fitted for crutches.

    Those were the lowlights of a woeful Saturday afternoon in the Patty Center for the Nanooks as they were trounced 74-46 by the No. 2 Alaska Anchorage Seawolves in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference game.

    “We’re not a very good basketball team, to be blunt,” Nanooks’ coach Darryl Smith said. “I try to put a positive spin on it but ... we struggle to pass the basketball, we struggle to catch the basketball and we struggle to want to compete.”

    The Nanooks’ early defensive game plan enabled Dasha Basova to take outside shots. That was a mistake.

    Basova, a senior forward, sank five 3-pointers in the first four minutes and hit all six of her attempts beyond the arc. She led all scorers with 22 points, netting 8 of 9 field goals.

    “No one’s (left her open) in our league, and that’s one thing she can do is shoot,” Seawolves coach Tim Moser said.

    Basova had one of the lowest field-goal percentages on UAA at 37.3 percent and had struggled in conference play, hitting little more than 20 percent of her shots. She came into the game with 17 made 3-pointers in 16 games this season.

    “I was surprised myself,” the 6-foot-3 Russian said. “... I didn’t expect to be so on.”

    Smith blamed himself for Basova’s opportunities by running a triangle-and-two defense that focused on shutting down All-America UAA center Rebecca Kielpinski and guard Elisha Harris.

    “By the time she hit her third, we were trying to get out of (the defensive scheme),” Smith said, “but she had two more before we could get out of it. That’s what set the tone for the game.”

    The Nanooks were unable to respond. The Seawolves’ No. 1 scoring defense in the nation was relentless in plugging passing lanes and contesting shots.

    When the Nanooks did find open shots, they couldn’t sink them. Wide-open 3’s clanged on steel or found nothing but air. Layups dribbled off the rim.

    “It just didn’t happen,” said senior guard Cristina Bruketta, who went 3-for-4 for nine points. “There were open shots. We just didn’t hit them.”

    Nanooks sophomore center Nicole Bozek even missed an uncontested attempt near the hoop that she hastily tossed. It was part of a 3-for-16, 10-point performance for Bozek, who led the Nanooks in points and rebounds (nine).

    Nanooks starting shooting guard Sheena Brown, a Fairbanks native, sank just 1 of 11 shots for four points.

    A late 3-for-4 run by forward Grace Milliken (six points overall) in the closing minutes was enough to push UAF’s field-goal percentage to a still-dismal 26.7 percent on 16-for-60 shooting.

    “It can be frustrating, when we know we could all make good shots, but we just got to see through it, I guess,” a visibly upset Milliken said.

    The Seawolves held a 20-4 advantage after just four minutes of play. UAA’s sudden lead was aided by the Nanooks’ short early possessions in which they either lobbed a quick shot or gave the ball away within 10 seconds.

    “They just panicked,” Smith said.

    The Nanooks were able to slow the tempo of the game, albeit sporadically, before halftime, heading into the lockerroom with a large-but-manageable 39-22 deficit.

    The Seawolves then put the game out of reach with a 12-2 run to open the second half. The second-ranked team in NCAA Division II won its 14 straight game to improve to 16-1 overall and 3-0 in the GNAC. The Nanooks slipped to 5-8, 0-4.

    “I don’t know really what to say,” Bruketta said quietly. “We just got outplayed.”

    UAA then slowed the game’s pace to run out the clock with a loose full-court press and a slow, methodical offense.

    The grisly spectacle got worse for the Nanooks with 17:52 left in the second half.

    Marshall fell to the floor under the basket and was unable to get up. She was helped to the bench by trainers, where she remained, resting her right leg on an empty chair.

    Marshall, a second semester pickup for the Nanooks, tore both ligaments in her knee and will miss the rest of the season, Smith said.

    “She’s done,” he added grimly.

    It was the second rout by a Seawolves team in the Patty Center in four days. On Wednesday, the Nanooks men’s basketball team was thumped 81-52 by UAA. The two Nanooks teams lost by a combined 57 points.

    Leaning on a wall outside the lockerroom, Smith searched for the right words to describe the loss.

    “It’s disheartening. It’s disappointing. It’s demoralizing,” he said. “... We have little fight in us.”
  2. CCaple

    CCaple Member

    Pretty solid effort overall. This stuck out as kind of awkward-sounding: "The Seawolves’ No. 1 scoring defense in the nation was relentless in plugging passing lanes and contesting shots."

    I might go with something like, "The Seawolves, owners of the No. 1 scoring defense in the nation, relentlessly plugged passing lanes and contested shots."

    Definitely an enjoyable read though. This sounded like the most depressing loss in the history of sports. Every quote from the coach cracked me up. This almost sounds made up, so much shit went down. But you did a good job of telling it like it is, and I thought it flowed well.
  3. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    josh: i think i would have hit the back end of this one-and-one quote (one on the backside of moser said) "No one’s (left her open) in our league, and that’s one thing she can do is shoot,” Seawolves coach Tim Moser said" and formed a lede from that.

    yeah, the team might suck, but somebody beat them. maybe lede in with why they got beat and then drop the bomb ... one thing leads to another.

    just my two cents.
  4. CCaple,

    Yeah, I tend to write my sentences in knots. That's on the top of my list of things to improve. By the way, this coach never fails to deliver a good quote. Thanks.


    That's a good way to approach it. I'll keep that in mind. Thanks.
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