Basketball teams open season with slow start

Both of the Trinity basketball teams opened their season with back-to-back losses. The men fell to Hardin-Simmons University on Nov. 15 and to Mary Hardin-Baylor University on Nov. 17. The women were defeated by George Fox University and Linfield University at the George Fox Classic in Newberg, Ore., from Nov. 15-16.

In the first game of the 2014-2015 season, the men suffered a 74-100 loss to Hardin-Simmons on the road. The Tigers shot 49.1 percent from the field, hit 50 percent of 3-point shots and converted 63.6 percent of their free throws. Senior guard Matt Selling led the team in points with 14 and first year Matthew Bender led the team in rebounds with six.

Two days later, the men played their first home game against Mary Hardin-Baylor. The Tigers lost the game 78-51. In this game the team shot 26.9 percent from the field, hit 41.7 percent of 3-point shots, and made 57.6 percent of free throws. Sophomore forward A.J. Pulliam led the team with eight points and Bender led the team again in rebounds with eight.

“We’re still in search of our identity with this team. The first game we played well offensively but could not come up with any defensive stops. The second game we played much better defensively, but absolutely could not put the ball in the basket. [We] need to take the best from each of those games on Friday against Pomona-Pitzer,” said head coach Pat Cunningham.

Next, the Tigers play in the SCIAC Classic in California from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22. On the first day, Nov. 21, the men play Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and on Nov. 22 they play Pomona Pitzer. After that, their next game is against Concordia Texas at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 1 in Austin.

The team is excited about their opportunity to play against strong competition and hope to improve with every game.

“As a team we’ve been struggling with communication on both sides of the floor, and more than anything we need to work on building chemistry and playing together as a team,” Pulliam said. “We lost a lot of seniors last year and we have to fill the shoes of the roles they played. Our goals for the next game are focusing on playing with more cohesion and communication on the court.”

The women’s team also opened their season with consecutive losses.

In the Tigers first game on Nov. 15, they lost to George Fox 63-40. The women shot 31.9 percent from the field, hit 19 percent of 3-point attempts and made 42.9 percent of free throws. Junior forward Anecia Richardson led the team with 12 points and senior center Taylor Hollins had the most rebounds for the Tigers with eight.

The next day, Nov. 16, the Tigers faced off against Linfield, when they fell 66-52. During this game the ladies shot 29.2 percent from the field, 17.9 percent from 3-point range and made 52.9 percent  of their free throws. Sophomore guard Monica Holguin scored the most points for the team with 16 and Richardson lead the team in rebounds with seven.

“We needed to play some difficult teams in order to realize what we could be capable of. They may not have gone exactly as we planned but these are definitely stepping stones for our season and we found stuff that we could work on,” said junior guard Elizabeth Balido.

During the upcoming games, the Tigers have areas they hope to improve upon and also areas they see as strengths so far.

“All in all, our half-court defense was a huge thing for us and it really helped get us great opportunities on offense. I think we really need to work on making open shots when they are given to us and getting it to the post in order to give us opportunities on the three point line. Our rebounding still could use some work and the same goes for our defensive rotations,” Balido said.

The Tigers play again at 1 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 22 against Hardin-Simmons on the road.

The next game after that for the ladies is 5:30 p.m.on Monday, Dec. 1 versus Concordia (Tex.)

“It’s just another chance to play,” said head coach Cameron Hiil. “So, for me, before we get into conference every single game is almost like an experiment to try to learn as much as I can about what our team does best and what we can be the best at going into conference play.”