Women look to bounce back against NJIT

The 31-point loss to No. 11/12 Duke last Friday was definitely a set-back for the Marquette women’s basketball team. But with tonight’s game against the New Jersey Institute of Technology at the Al McGuire Center, Marquette has the chance to rebound and put its season back on track.

Above left: Guard Janelle Harris is shooting 47.2  percent from the field for the season, but she was one of many Golden Eagles shut down by the Blue Devils. The senior hit just 1-for-7 from the field against Duke.
Above left: Guard Janelle Harris is shooting 47.2 percent from the field for the season, but she was one of many Golden Eagles shut down by the Blue Devils. The senior hit just 1-for-7 from the field against Duke.

Assistant coach Michelle Nason was quick to point out that the team mainly needs to work on its focus after it only managed 25 percent from the field and 15.6 percent from beyond the arc against the Blue Devils.

“We play in a really tough conference, and we are going to see Duke-like teams during conference play,” Nason said. “And the whole point of non-conference is to challenge yourself.”

So far this season, NJIT is 79.7 percent from the charity stripe and has managed to shoot 56.8 points per game. The team is led by Jessica Gerald (15.2 points per game). But even though the Highlanders (2-4) have yet to win on the road this season, Nason is not ready to let her team simply expect a win.

“Yeah, NJIT isn’t the 11th ranked team in the country or necessarily a high-name, high-profile school, but they’re good,” she said. “They’re certainly not going to come in here and lay down. They’re going to play us zone and look to penetrate on us, so we have to be ready for them. We can’t just lick our wounds from Duke and think that we are just going to roll up on NJIT, because that is not the case. They are not a team that we can take lightly.”

Senior Janelle Harris, who scored 13 points against Cleveland State but was held to just two points against Duke, knows the Golden Eagles need be prepared to guard the Highlanders’ penetration.

“I know they are a penetrating team and we just need to be ready to defend,” she said.

Fellow senior Lauren Thomas-Johnson led the Golden Eagles against Duke with 13 points and currently leads the Golden Eagles this season with 11 points per game. Although NJIT only shoots 33 percent from the field, Thomas-Johnson does not believe this will be an easy win for the Golden Eagles and said the team must still prepare mentally.

“Going into NJIT, we need to do everything that Terri Mitchell said in practice,” Thomas-Johnson said. “Just the mental things like the offensive rebounds, scoring off the offensive rebounds and cutting off the middle penetration. … They are going to run at us so we are going to have to run back at them.

“We need to be a mentally tough team. Our game plan is working, but we need to make sure that they don’t shut us down at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Harris said the team needs to tweak minor flaws and put the focus back on itself. She added that the game tonight will be a perfect way to learn from the mistakes against Duke.

“We just need to keep thinking about us,” she said. “We definitely have a long season ahead and if we fix the little things now then we can push it and go forward. “