Addae Houston, Southwestern’s first-year women’s basketball coach, took a philosophical approach to the 100-45 beating his team took against 15th-ranked Kirkwood in the final home game of the season here Wednesday night.
After praising his own team for not quitting and continuing to compete against a deficit exceeding 50 points in the second half, Houston said Kirkwood’s squad shows what it takes to compete at the top of the ICCAC Division II level.
Kirkwood (23-8 overall, 11-4 conference) had just made 17 3-pointers, quick 5-3 guard Ariel Sneed had darted around and through the Spartan defense for 24 points, and post players Ariel Sneed and Cassidy Clark had nearly scored at will in the paint with a combined 24 points.
While daunting, Houston said the only way to close the gap is to bring comparable players to campus.
“Sure, it’s hard to defend,” Houston said. “But, that’s college basketball. That’s what it’s supposed to be like. You shouldn’t be able to focus down on one or two players. They are the better team right now. They have the better talent and we couldn’t defend every phase of their game.”
Houston, a former player and graduate assistant at Northwest Missouri State University, said it’s been helpful to have one trip through the league schedule, to get a better gauge on what’s needed to compete. The Spartans (5-23 overall, 2-13 conference), coming off a winless season in 2012-13, have one regular-season game remaining Saturday at Marshalltown.
The only way the Spartans could qualify as one of the eight regional tournament teams — assigned to face No. 1-ranked NIACC again in Mason City — is by tiebreaker criteria with the loser of the Iowa Lakes vs. Southeastern game. Both of those teams have three league victories, so Southwestern would have to defeat Marshalltown to be in the hunt.
“Being here for a season definitely gives me a better idea what we need to recruit for,” Houston said. “There are a lot of teams in this league that press. A lot of teams can shoot the three. So we have to bring kids in who can defend, can handle the pressure and can score. You have to be able to score to keep up. Hopefully we can bring those kids in.”
As for the present roster, progress was made this season, even if it’s difficult to measure when playing one of the three nationally-ranked teams.
On Wednesday, Jill Vanderhoof and Darian Polson each scored 11 points, and Kristin Klocksiem added nine, including a pair of 3-pointers. The Spartan offense showed more firepower in the second half after trailing 49-20 at halftime.
“I thought in the first half we passed up a lot of shots,” Houston said. “I told them, in college basketball, if you get an inch, you have to take a shot. You’re open. We did a better job of that in the second half and made some shots.”
A 30-point game (55-25) gradually ballooned to 40 (72-32 at 10:53 mark) and 50 (82-32 at 6:06). But, the Spartans kept working to score, including a 3-pointer from the wing by Katelynn Sowers with 15 seconds left.
“They played hard,” Houston said of his team. “I told them in the locker room that I was proud that they played 40 minutes. They never gave in, never quit. That’s a testament to their character and their work ethic.”
KIRKWOOD (100) — Danielle Woolfolk 10 0-0 24, Kirsten Larson 6 0-0 18, Cassidy Clark 5 1-2 13, Ariel Sneed 5 1-1 11, Mikayla Fallon 3 0-0 9, Katelyn Tuttle 2 1-2 6, Tyra Polite 2 0-0 5, Anna Martensen 2 0-0 4, Peyton Bockholt 2 0-0 4, Breannie Robinson 2 0-0 4, Taylor Silva 1 0-0 2. Totals — 40 3-5 100. 3-point goals — 17 (Larson 6, Woolfolk 4, Fallon 3, Clark 2, Tuttle 1, Polite 1). Team fouls — 14. Fouled out — None.
SOUTHWESTERN (45) — Darian Polson 5 1-3 11, Jill Vanderhoof 4 0-0 11, Kristin Klocksiem 3 1-2 9, Katelynn Sowers 2 0-0 5, Morgan Knorr 1 2-2 4, Na Keyia Harris 1 1-1 3, Jordan Williamson 0 2-2 2. Totals — 15 7-10 45. 3-point goals — 5 (Vanderhoof 3, Klocksiem 2). Team fouls — 9. Fouled out — None.
Kirkwood — 49 100
SWCC — 20 45