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Thoughts on Tech-Lake Erie
February 20, 2012 - Michael Bleach
And now it is time for everyone’s favorite sportswriter parlor game, “Delving Into Box Scores!” as once again I was otherwise occupied with Finlandia hockey while the Tech wins (61-58 men, 69-66 women) over Lake Erie played on the radio.
I do actually get to talk to the teams at practice today, however, so all of these thoughts will be put to Kevin Luke/Kim Cameron in the form of questions.
Two cheers for a return to actual journalism.
1. The hot-and-cold season long streak continues for the men.
The past 11 games have followed this pattern: W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W*. The longest winning streak of the year for the Huskies is three, which came in early December. The longest losing streak is two.
*How is that for some visual evidence? I would like to think high quality graphics like that are the reason you come to this blog.
I have asked both Luke and several players multiple times (and will again today) what, if any, reason can be attributed to their struggles to put together a winning stretch. Neither has had an answer — and I can’t find any common denominators to attempt to proffer an explanation.
With the GLIAC Tournament in two weeks, however, and thereupon resting Tech’s only hopes for making the NCAA Tournament, the Huskies need to figure out the problem/solution quickly, as they will need three wins in a row against the league's top teams.
2. Austin Armga led Tech in scoring Saturday which — again, without actually having watched the game — tells me one thing.
Luke wanted/needed/demanded aggression from his non-Ali Haidar players after Thursday’s loss at Ashland.
Armga’s best quality is his ability to take the ball to the hoop. And of Tech’s rotation, he alone can claim that. Sometimes, as a sophomore, he struggles to balance the line between aggression/out-of-control and thus sees his minutes yo-yo.
But dropping 18 points (on 7-of-12 shooting, with just one 3-pointer) would suggest that Luke was willing to put up with some wild play (Armga did turn the ball over four times Saturday) in exchange for a “screw-it” attitude. I will ask him later today to see if my suspicions are correct.
3. Women’s freshman Jillian Ritchie, may have finally hit the rookie wall — at least where her legs are concerned.
The freshman forward has spiraled into a shooting slump over her last six games, hitting just 3-of-17 shots (18 percent) and only attempting two field goals for the entire weekend.
Junior guard Emma Veach could possibly return from her knee injury this week — I will know more later today — which would be a boon for the Huskies, both getting the third-best player on the team back, and allowing Ritchie to play fewer minutes and perhaps recovering her shooting stroke.
4. Some interesting playtime notes from the weekend:
Senior starter Mike Hojnacki saw the floor just 10 minutes Saturday. He missed both shots he took, picked up three fouls and didn’t collect a rebound or an assist. Senior forward Brian Olley played 24 minutes.
For the women on Thursday, senior Lynn Giesler played just 16 minutes and sophomore Taylor Stippel saw 19. Saturday, Giesler scored six points with five rebounds in 25 minutes and Stippel finished with eight points and six rebounds in 12 minutes.
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