Trojans play host to Louisiana-Monroe

Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Troy women’s basketball team will look to snap a three-game losing streak tonight when it takes on Louisiana-Monroe at home.

The Trojans have lost their last three games, all in conference play, with the most recent loss coming to Louisiana-Lafayette by a score of 70-67 this past Saturday.

Despite the team’s recent struggles, head coach Michael Muprhy said the team must keep confidence in itself.

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“We just have to maintain our confidence and our work ethic in practice,” Murphy said. “You can’t feel sorry for yourself because nobody else is going to feel sorry for you. We have to continue to play with purpose, poise and passion. The thing is this is a marathon, not a sprint. When you’re in a rough stretch, it only takes a play here and a play there. You look at our losses, and we’ve got four conference losses by 14 points.”

While Troy has suffered several close losses, Murphy said there are positive aspects to losing close games.

“But, we have to look at the glass as being half-full,” Muprhy said. “When you’re losing close, you’re losing close because you are making plays and playing hard, so you have to look at the positives.”

The recent trend of close games could continue tonight, as the last time the two teams hooked up, it was a tight game.

Troy and ULM last played on Dec. 30, and the Warhawks walked away with a 69-67 win.

“Our games are always very competitive and very close,” Murphy said. “It seems like the last three or four games we’ve played with them have come down to a last-second shot.”

Even though the Trojans fell in their last tilt with ULM, the game did give Troy an opportunity to learn about its opponent first-hand.

“That first game we had with them was very interesting,” Murphy said. “We made five more baskets than we did, and we held them to just one made 3-point shot. But, we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds and had just five made free throws compared to their 24, which makes a huge difference when it comes time to win in the last second.”

With the previous game’s experience now under its belt, Troy hopes it will be able to improve in the key areas it needs to in order to have success against ULM.

“We know they’re going to drive hard to the basket, but we just can’t afford to consistently put them on the line,” Murphy said. “In this game, we have got to defend the dribble-drive better and defend the post better.”

Troy must also be ready for the ULM defensive strategy, which will employ a variety of defenses.

“We’ll see some man-to man, with a little zone mixed in,” Murphy said.

“They’ll probably extend the defense with some trapping. They’ll definitely change things up a little, but primarily, they’ll be in a man-to-man defense.”

No matter the outcome of tonight’s game, the Trojans know they can play with ULM, even if the Warhawks won the last game.

“The tough thing about losing by two to four points is when you go back and break down the film, there are 18 to 20 plays in every game that if they went your way, they would have pushed the game in your favor,” Muprhy said.

The Trojans and Warhawks tip off tonight at 7 p.m. at Trojan Arena.