Southwestern Michigan now 5-0 after 93-18 win over Andrews

Published 9:54 am Friday, November 17, 2023

DOWAGIAC — One would think that a team averaging 84.2 points per game while allowing its opponent 42.8 points a contest would make their coach happy with a 5-0 record.

But first-year Southwestern Michigan College Women’s Basketball Coach Jay Jenkins knows there are more important games down the road, and the start of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference schedule is right around corner.

While Jenkins has seen improvement in many areas since the start of the regular season, one area that the Roadrunners need to work on and get under control quickly are turnovers.

Southwestern Michigan is averaging just a shade under 24 miscues per game. If the Roadrunners want to challenge for a Western Conference championship in its second year back on the court and earn another spot in the Great Lakes District Tournament, that number needs to come down significantly.

The Roadrunners did come in under that number in its 93-18 win over visiting Andrews University at the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse Thursday night.

“We don’t want to take time to smell the roses,” Jenkins said. “Because that came be something that kills you if you take time to stop and smell them. It is still early in the season and we have a long way to go. I think we’re our biggest competition right now. We can’t continue to play in February and March committing 30 turnovers.”

Another area of concern for Jenkins is his team’s communication on defense.

“Regardless of our competition, those are the things I am focused on — what we need down the line — because that is going to be the thing that kills us if we don’t get our communication under control and we don’t get these turnovers under control.”

Quick starts have been the trademark of the Roadrunners so far in 2023. That was not the case Thursday night.

Both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket early on. Neither team found the rang through the first three minutes of the contest. The Cardinals never found it in the opening quarter.

After finally lifting the lid off the basket, Southwestern Michigan went on to outscore Andrews University 17-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Roadrunners held a 24-3 scoring advantage in the second quarter as SMC opened up a 41-3 halftime advantage.

Things did not get a lot better for the Cardinals in the final two quarter as they were held to 15 points. Meanwhile, Southwestern Michigan poured in another 52 points to eclipse the 90-point plateau for the second time in three games.

Sophomore Cameron Thomas (Hazel Crest, Illinois) scored a game-high 24 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Tori Eldridge (Goshen, Indiana) came off the bench to score 12 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Macey Laubach (Edwardsburg) finished the night with 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Amara Palmer (Niles) also had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Dowagiac freshman Alanah Smith got a start for the Roadrunners against the Cardinals. Smith finished with 10 points and seventh rebounds. Nalani Williams grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with six points.

The Roadrunners are back on the court Saturday afternoon as they host Olive-Harvey (Chicago) in a non-conference game slated to tipoff at 1 p.m.