Rigby: Players begining to buy in, relish roles

Published 4:00 am Friday, December 5, 2014

It became apparent to Chandra Rigby Wednesday night when her team’s back was up against the wall.

In the second half of their matchup with Samford, the Troy women (3-3) were fighting to hold onto what was once a 12-point lead at halftime for a hard-fought final 20 minutes in the second half.

It wasn’t unusual for the Trojans to be in a dogfight of a basketball game. That has been the team’s MO up to this point in the season. Always with a taste for the dramatics, the margin of victory in Troy’s previous two wins had been an average of five points.

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And with just over five minutes to go in the second half, Troy saw their 12-point lead shaved away to just two points. Rigby had to call a timeout.

But for the first time this season, what Rigby saw from her players in the huddle surprised her. They weren’t giving in. They knew they were going to win.

“They (Samford) would start to make their runs,” Rigby said. “I would look at their faces, because there was a point in time when those things (runs) would happen and I could see their shoulders and I could see their faces drop. And it didn’t happen this game. They (Troy) felt like they were going to win.”

For the first time all season, it may have just clicked.

This is who Troy is. They play an exciting, suspenseful brand of basketball, and that’s OK with Rigby.

And with strong bench play from Caitlyn Ramirez — who just so happened to be the game’s leading scorer — and Ashley Beverly-Kelley, Troy stayed the course, fought off the Samord second-half attack, and went on to win 76-67.

Rigby said this was her team’s strongest performance thus far in the season, and it may have also been the game that Troy found their identity.

“This was a giant step forward tonight,” Rigby said. “We have players who have talent…we need all of them to settle in. It was beautiful to see that tonight. They fell into their niche.”