Finding Achilles’ Heel


Photo by Justin Perry

Jason Huber

Getting physical in the paint

Coming off a major bounce-back win against Sun Belt opponent Texas State on Saturday, one of the key things head coach Angel Elderkin continually acknowledged during the post game press conference was how the team rebounded and played hard in the post. Shooting only eight 3-pointers in the game and only three in the first half, the aggressiveness from the team showed a spark they have been missing this season.

Continuing this style of play that Elderkin describes as the team’s “brand” will be a key factor against the reigning Sun Belt champions.

Sophomore guard Madi Story is fresh off of a career high 31 points on 11-15 shooting. Story’s points came off of fakes and layups where no one on Texas State could find a way to stop her. Having Story continually try to make her way to the paint could be a recipe for disaster for Little Rock.

Junior Ashley Bassett-Smith should continue to be a force down low defensively with nine blocks in her last four games. Bassett-Smith’s strong play as of late should help take some of the pressure off junior center Mia Marshall who struggled last week versus Texas State.

Don’t bow down to the champs

Little Rock finished the 2014-15 season with a 29-5 overall record and 18-2 in the Sun Belt to win the conference, defeating the Mountaineers in both of their match ups. This season looks like it could be a different story.

Little Rock lost two of their top players from last season in Taylor Gault and Kiera Clark. The 2015-16 Trojans have struggled to step up in the plate, with a 4-9 overall record and two losses in the conference already, matching last season’s total. App State is returning eight letter winners from last season’s team and three starters. Players such as Story, Bassett-Smith and Jones should not be afraid of this Trojans team.

The Mountaineers finished their last matchup versus Little Rock with a 17-point comeback before ultimately falling, but if they could stack up against the champs last season, they very well could top them off this year.

Dawn is rising

Little Rock senior guard Alexius Dawn, who was a Sun Belt preseason all-conference first team selection, started off the season slow, averaging only 7.6 points per game through the team’s first six contests. Little Rock has played three top-25 teams this season already, which could have been a cause for some of her struggles.

However, since that stretch — minus an awful game against Troy — Dawn has averaged 20.2 points per game, including back-to-back 20-plus point outings in her last two games. The Mountaineers will have their hands full with Dawn and should be cautious with her 3-point prowess.

Story by: Jason Huber, Sports Reporter