The Shore opens season with Valley Forge victory
PrinCESS ANNE, Maryland -
If Friday night’s matchup with Valley Forge was a litmus test for the depth of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore squad as the coaching staff waits out the return of a pair of injured players, the Hawks passed without issue.
A decisive 92-38 victory saw all 12 active members of the Hawks roster play double-digit minutes as junior college transfer Dominique Walker (Bel Air, Maryland) lead the way with 21 points off the bench.
“I think in the first game you want to get rid of first-game jitters, get a win on your record,” head coach Fred Batchelor said. “With a tough non-league schedule I think that’s used for confidence, it’s used for not looking at a goose egg when you start coming up against some tough opponents and you fall short on the road.
“But that was almost like an exhibition in allowing us to get used to playing with each other. Any opportunity we have to get comfortable with each other is important and I thought we were able to do that tonight.”
Walker made 9-of-11 shots from the field and was 3-of-4 from the free throw line and did all her damage in just 16 minutes.
“I thought we got some good play from Dominique who was able to make a difference in the game and I think you are going to see that throughout the year,” Batchelor said. “She is an exceptional player. She is a tweener with a different type of position, but we have to find her way on the floor.”
At 5-foot-10, Batchelor knows Walker could have a tough time matchup up with some early season non-conference opponents inside, but on Friday the ball repeatedly found its way to her and she knew what to do with it.
“That was one of the reasons I recruited her,” Batchelor said. “I was in the gym watching her and five possessions in a row she got her hands on the ball. She is a dog for the ball. She knows where it is she anticipates where it is going. She has exceptionally long arms, great athleticism and she can score.”
Defensively, the Hawks held the Patriots to 35.9 percent shooting from the floor and held them without a field goal in the second quarter. Eastern Shore also forced 38 Colonials turnovers including 29 steals.
“We wanted to be disciplined,” Batchelor said. “We thought if we went out and gambled defensively in the half court we would have been able to do some things that would have affected the game, but it wouldn’t have made us better. We really wanted to get back and show a level of disciplined defense, work on our rotations and really challenge our kids to play disciplined defense.
“I thought they did that tonight without gambling. Twenty-nine is probably more steals than we’ll get the rest of the year, but we didn’t really press. We played good defense that broke them down to where they gave us the ball.”
Senior Alexus Hicks (Raleigh, North Carolina) had six of those 29 steals to go with a team-high eight assists, seven points and four rebounds.
Senior center Tori Morris (Herndon, Virginia) added 10 points and five rebounds in the post.
Eleven of the 12 players who saw the floor scored in the contest and they all had at least one rebounds in what Bachelor saw as a full team effort.
“I thought Angelique Taylor (Wachapreague, Virginia) came off the bench and played well,” Batchelor said. “I thought she showed me something even though she only had two points, but on the defensive end she just did everything we asked her to do. When you get kids like that — a walk on — who come in and buy into what you are doing it really, really helps.
“I’m pleased we got that from her and I thought we got that from top to bottom.”
The Hawks (1-0) will next travel to New York for a pair of contests against University of Buffalo and Syracuse. The first of those against the Bulls — in Batchelor’s home town — will be Monday at 7 p.m.
For more information on Eastern Shore Athletics visit http://www.easternshorehawks.com/.
- Men's Sports
- Women's Sports
- FAN ZONE
- DONATE NOW
- Business Accessories
- Decals/Magnets & Auto
- Duffles & Totes
- Everyday Essentials
- Flags & Wall Decals
- Gifts, Food & Accessories
- Hunting & Fishing