Trap Pushes Gamecock Women To Second Straight Loss

Jacksonville State has been plagued by the full-court trap defense against its non-conference opponents.

The Ohio Valley Conference seems to have taken notice after the Gamecocks fell to Tennessee-Martin 88-75.

“We just don’t handle the ball well enough,” Pietri said. “Until we can handle the ball better, it’s going to be a problem for us. Our point guards have got to be able to handle the ball. Our perimeter players have got to be able to handle the ball and make good decisions. Right now, that’s not something we do very well.”

The Skyhawks’ (8-6, 1-o in the OVC) switched to the full-court trap defense early in the first half when JSU (3-11, 0-2 in the OVC) led 5-2.  It was the last lead the Gamecocks held as the Skyhawks forced 13 of their 24 turnovers in the first half leading to easy points.

The Gamecocks struggled to set up their offense and many possessions ended without having attempted a shot. Those offensive struggles created defensive mismatches. UTM scored 24 points off turnovers alone.

Not protecting the ball cost the Gamecocks points on both sides of the scoreboard. Not protecting the paint may have taken them out of the game completely. The Skyhawks totaled 48 points in the paint.

Despite being winless in conference play, there is a silver-lining to the Gamecocks’ 0-2 start. Their two losses were to Tennessee Tech by five points and UTM by 13. Last season, the Gamecocks lost by 22 to Tech and 30 to Martin. Both of those teams are picked to win their divisions this season. The Gamecocks are competing, just not finishing.

“Our problem is we just have these stretches where we give up easy plays,” Pietri said. “We just can’t afford to do that. It comes both ways. We haven’t handled the ball well enough at times which has led to easy plays. Sometimes there has been episodes where we haven’t used the right energy which has led to easy plays. We need to make sure that the other team earns everything.”

The Gamecocks return to action Wednesday in Birmingham for its final non-conference game against Samford.

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