DANVILLE — Back-to-back losses to start the season is not how any coach wants to begin a new season.
Danville Area Community College women’s basketball coach Erika Harris can be included in that group.
But after watching her team drop a 55-53 contest to Olney Central on Wednesday night at the Mary Miller Gymnasium, Harris did see improvement from the season-opening setback to Kaskaskia.
“We laid down against Kaskaskia,’’ Harris said. “That’s why I was so angry with that one.
“In this game, we were down seven points in the final minutes and we could have laid down, again, but we kept working and battling. So, we got mentally tougher and we are going to keep working to get better.’’
There were some obvious areas were DACC (0-2) will need to improve before its next game.
A primary focus will need to be sustaining offensive execution.
The Lady Jaguars looked good in the opening quarter, building a 14-10 lead, but they managed just 4 points on one field goal in the second quarter.
“We’re still trying to get comfortable with each other,’’ Harris said. “We came out executing wonderfully. Olney picked up the pressure just a little bit, and we started to panic with the ball. That’s something we have been working on, but it got us out of our rhythm offensive.
“But, we didn’t stop playing defense.’’
Which is why the Jaguars took a 18-15 lead into the locker room.
But, in the second half, a combination of aggressive defense from the Blue Knights and 13 offensive rebounds allowed Olney to take a 50-43 lead with just over 2 minutes remaining in the contest. DACC fought back, but the Lady Jaguars were never able to get any closer than the final margin of 55-53.
“They started crashing the boards harder and they started hitting their 3s,’’ said Harris, noting that Olney was 5-of-15 from long range. “They only made seven in the game, but they were momentum 3s. The biggest thing was the rebounds. They were just getting more opportunities.’’
Conversely, Harris was disappointed that her team was 3-of-18 from behind the arc.
“I don’t want 18 attempts right now,’’ she said. “I told my guards that those 3s are not our bread-and-butter right now. The bread-and-butter is our scoring on the post. I’m a former guard saying that.
“Once I see them in the gym making those 3-pointers at game speed, at that point I will run some plays for us to his 3s. We need to get the ball to (Lauryn) Wiley, who had 19 points and that wasn’t on accident.’’
Those 19 points for Wiley were a game-high, while Maria Falanga finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss for the Lady Jaguars.