Poor shooting dooms Gorloks in first games of season

Webster University women's basketball
Webster University sophomore guard Kaliann Rikard (11) shoots over Concordia University Chicago freshman Kassy Koehler (30) during the Gorloks’ 47-45 loss on Nov. 18 at Grant Gymnasium. Photo by Gale Whitehead.

The Webster University women’s basketball team began their season by falling to Concordia University Chicago and Marian University in the Webster Tip-Off at Grant Gymnasium. Poor shooting was the main culprit.
“If we’re shooting this poorly, everyone is accountable,” assistant coach Jordann Plummer said. “The girls will have to just work more on the court. They must be willing to put in the extra time in shooting at practice. Their shots will fall.”
In their season-opening 47-45 loss to Concordia on Nov. 18, the Gorloks shot 29 percent from the field and 19 percent from the 3-point arc. In their 71-64 loss to Marian the next day, the Gorloks’ shooting woes continued, as they hit 27 percent from the field and 21 percent from beyond the arc.
In a nip-and-tuck game against Concordia that was tied at 44 late in the contest, missed shots down the stretch put the Gorloks in a bind and they couldn’t recover. Webster was held without a field goal the last two and a half minutes of the game.
Webster fought hard against Marian, but the Sabres’ 3-pointers and the Gorloks’ poor shooting was too much for Webster to overcome. Marian connected on 11 3-pointers in the contest.
“We played hard in both games,” Webster coach Jordan Olufson said. “Our defense was very, very good. We only allowed 47 points to Concordia and Marian was draining all those 3s. We just couldn’t score.”
Plummer said she was pleased with the team’s play and loved the work ethic and intensity.
“We fought back from horrendous shooting and hung in there,” Plummer said.  “We learned a lot about the character of the team. Hopefully these first two games can show us how we can become better.”
Although Webster returns 14 players from last year’s St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship team, the Gorloks are without one of the top players in program history in Katy Meyer, who graduated last year.
“Katy was a great player,” junior point guard Maggie Zehner said. “But we lose players every year. We have (junior guard) Gwen (Williams) and some great freshmen to take her place.”
Williams averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds the first two games while freshman Cassie Endicott averaged 8.5 points, 6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.
“It’s tough in practice to figure out our rotation of players, but we are getting there with the games we had over the weekend,” Olufson said. “We have some new players this year, so we just have to see where the chemistry is.”
Zehner, who led the Gorloks in scoring in both losses and was named to the All-Tournament team, said it’s too early in the season to panic or be overly concerned.
“Overall, I am not unhappy with us,” Zehner said. “We have some great 3-point shooters and once we get the confidence, we’ll be a very good shooting team. It was a rough start, but we are going to be OK.”
Olufson said his team has quickly bounced back from the 0-2 start to the season.
“Monday (Nov. 21) was the best practice we have had all year,” Olufson said. “They know what needs to be done.”
Coming off last season’s SLIAC tournament championship, expectations are running high for Webster. But Olufson said nothing will be handed to his team.
“Losing those two maybe showed us we need to get off our high horse,” Olufson said. “But I told the girls we are the best 0-2 team in the country.”
The Gorloks travel to Rock Island, Ill., for a nonconference game against Augustana College on Nov. 26. They are back home for their SLIAC opener versus Westminster College on Nov. 30.

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