Fast Start Leads Dakota To Basketball Victory Over Eisenhower – Macomb Daily

Dakota women’s basketball coach Phil McCune hoped his team would continue a string of good starts when the Cougars faced visiting Eisenhower on Wednesday night.

The Cougars exceeded McCune’s expectations, racing to a 23-5 lead after eight minutes, sailing from there to a 70-41 MAC Red Division victory over the Eagles.

“We’ve had some good starts recently, but today was exceptional,” McCune said. “I think our defense boosted our offense tonight, and we got our defense back as the season went on. Now we are at that point where I am very happy with where we are going.”

Dakota's Gracie Maloney takes a shot.  Dakota vs Eisenhower on January 11, 2023. (DAVID DALTON for MediaNews Group)
Dakota’s Gracie Maloney takes a shot. Dakota vs Eisenhower on January 11, 2023. (DAVID DALTON for MediaNews Group)

Dakota’s full court pressure defense and dominance on the glass at both ends played a huge role in the Cougars gaining a huge lead after one quarter. Offensively, Tambre Williams and Samone Andrews each had nine points in the frame.

“Our goal with our full-court press is to get teams out of what they want to do,” McCune said. “Today was a good victory for the team. We had people come off the bench and make great contributions to us. Gracie Maloney was a big part of what we did today, along with Samone and Tambre.”

Andrews and Williams continued to carry the charge for Dakota in the second quarter, scoring six and five points, respectively, as the Cougars entered the half leading 36-18.

“I don’t know what percentage Dakota shot in the first quarter and first half, but they shot very well,” Eisenhower coach Cliff Piper said. “They are also difficult to rebound. They are athletic and can jump on us. We have to do a better job boxing.”

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Dakota was never in any danger of being outplayed in the second half, finishing the third quarter with a 53-31 lead, going from there into the final eight minutes.

Andrews led Dakota with 23 points, while Williams added 18 points and 20 rebounds.

“Samone isn’t just an offensive threat,” McCune said. “She’s going to get the steals and the rebounds. She is also protecting one of the best players on the other team. She is a luxury coach.

“I left Tambre late to try and break her sister’s single-game rebounding record,” McCune added. “She was 20 tonight and I think she was two or three away from the team record.”

The win improved Dakota’s record to 6-5 overall, 3-1 in the league. McCune said there are areas the Cougars need to improve going forward.

“We have to work to get back on defense,” McCune said. “Eisenhower’s transition hurt us tonight. We also have to work on making free kicks”.

Eisenhower was surpassed by Jennifer McWethy with nine points, while Devyn Raymond added eight points.

“Jennifer plays hard and is a great defensive player,” Piper said. “She’s probably one of the best defensive players I’ve ever coached. She also stepped up offensively tonight.”

The loss dropped the Eagles’ record to 6-3 overall, 2-2 in the league.

“We talked about not being nervous and not making mistakes,” Piper said. “That’s hard for the girls to understand because they’re worried about making mistakes. We have to improve when they pressure us with the ball so that we don’t lose the ball”.

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