Troy women’s hoops making progress

Published 8:53 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Even though the Troy Trojans women’s basketball team has had to deal with tough times early on this season, all is not lost.

While Sunday’s 63-50 loss at home to undefeated Florida Gulf Coast was the team’s sixth time losing by double-digits this season, head coach Michael Murphy is seeing his team take serious steps in the right direction.

“We played against a really, really good team on Sunday,” Murphy said Tuesday night.

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“I don’t think a lot of people really know how good Florida Gulf Coast is, but they are undefeated right now, after beating some really good teams already, and I think that they will stay undefeated the rest of the season. But even though we lost, I saw a lot of growth out of our team on that court.”

This was the second time the two teams met this season, and while both games ended with a Troy loss, Murphy said there was a big difference from the first game to the most recent.

Coming into the game, Florida Gulf Coast had not trailed going into the half at all this season.

That record was erased when the Trojans took a 24-23 lead after twenty minutes of play.

The 63 points scored by the visiting team were also the fewest scored all season.

“I thought we did a lot of really good things on Sunday,” the coach said. “I thought we especially did a good job of the defensive side of the ball.

“We were able to stop them from hitting 3-pointers in transition and that was one thing that really hurt us the first time we played them. We forced them to take some bad shots and we did a great job out rebounding them. Having said that, we had some mental lapses during the second half. We missed some easy shots and had too many turnovers, and when you are playing a good team like Florida Gulf Coast, you can’t have that happen.”

The Eagles forced 24 turnovers and shot nearly 40 percent from the floor and 27 percent from beyond the arc.

Troy was also held without a 3-pointer for the second time this season while shooting close to 35 percent from the floor.

While the most recent loss, and a 2-7 record, may have some players frustrated, that is not the case, according to Murphy, who said his girls are continuing to work hard with the knowledge that the season is far from over.

“There is still over two months left in this season, and right now, we are going through a interesting time of the year with finals, graduation and the holidays.

“We have had to be careful how we practiced with so much time off between games. But even with what’s going on around them, I think the last four games have been ones that have been very formidable for us and ones that I think the girls have learned a lot from.”

During that aforementioned four-game span, the Trojans have gone 1-3, losing to two top teams in Western Kentucky and Xavier, who is currently ranked No. 5 in the country.

The team has averaged a shooting percentage of 38 during that time, while shooting just 27 percent from the 3-point line.

“We are seeing the girls take the necessary steps to get better every day at practice,” the coach said.

“We are working on everything to get better. There is not one thing we focus on each time we go into a practice and I think that gives us an opportunity to get better on a daily basis. We have struggled at times this season, but we are starting to put together complete games. The girls have put fourth a good effort on improving the team’s work ethic and chemistry and that is beginning to show in the games.”

The Trojans will look to get back to its winning ways on Saturday, as it hits the road to the University of North Florida campus, where it will take part in the Holiday Invitational against the host school.

Tip-off will be at 3 p.m. EST.