Updated Fri, Jan 31, 2014 8:27 pm
The RedStorm feel as if they have played well enough in their last four games to win them all. Unfortunately for Rio Grande, the exact opposite thing happend. The RedStorm women’s basketball team is on a season-worst four-game losing streak and in desperate search of its footing.
Three of the last four losses came by single digit deficits. And just like in Thursday night’s heartbreaker against No. 6 Georgetown, Rio has led in numerous parts of these last four contests. The RedStorm were on top by 21 at halftime, but a late 17-0 run by Georgetown led to the defeat.
The task will not get any easier for Rio Grande on Saturday. The RedStorm host the No. 21 Cumberlands Patriots in Newt Oliver Arena. This will be the two teams’ second matchup (a Jan. 5 meeting ended in a 104-89 Cumberlands victory). Rio’s biggest lead that night was only 1 point, and the RedStorm will look to provide a much bigger cushion than that on Saturday.
In order to do so, Rio will key in on slowing down Cumberlands center Brooke Forsythe, who finished with a team-high 25 points in the previous matchup.
If the RedStorm play near the way they did in the first half against Georgetown that should be no issue. Rio held Georgetown to just 2 points in the paint for the first half, shifting between a zone and man-to-man defense, which put Georgetown on its heels. It will be interesting to see what defense Rio comes out in on Saturday.
The improving health of freshman forward Brooke Marcum and sophomore forward Sarah Bonar could be beneficial for the RedStorm. Both have been battling illnesses all week. A healthy Marcum and Bonar, along with the steady play of junior guard Brianna Thomas, should provide the steady offensive production that Rio has been experiencing all season long.
The RedStorm’s upset bid, however, will come down to their play of the defensive end. Four times this season Rio has allowed over 100 points — they have lost three of those contests.
A strong defensive effort along with a steady offensive attack could help Rio Grande flip the calendar to February on a positive note, after what has been a cold end to January.