Troy women on a roll

Published 6:29 pm Saturday, January 17, 2015

What a difference a year makes.

One year ago, Troy women’s basketball had just lost their eighth-straight game.

Fast forward to Thursday night, and as the late, great Stuart Scott once said, “Call them butter because they’re on a roll.”

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With their 82-77 win over ULM on Thursday night, the Troy women popped off their fourth-straight win. The current streak is their best under head coach Chanda Rigby and their longest since a five-game win streak to close out the 2008-2009 season.

Far and away, this is Rigby’s best team in her three-year tenure.

The difference from last year is staggering. And the way the Trojans win games this season is a big credit to the job Rigby has done in the offseason.

No one ever doubted the Trojans could score. In Rigby’s first two years with Troy, her teams led the Sun Belt in scoring each season.

But that defense. Before the season, Rigby said it herself — they were terrible on defense.

Yeah, Troy could score 100 points. But they gave up 110.

She said her team was working on it. And it looks like she wasn’t kidding.

Up to this point in the season, Troy leads the Sun Belt in scoring at 74.1 points per game.

But here’s where this year is different.

Troy also leads the conference in rebounding, assists and steals and is second in the conference in field goal percentage defense and blocks.

How’s that for a one-two punch?

The wildest part about this season and four-game win streak is that Troy’s 74.1 points a game is way less than the 80.4 points a game the Trojans averaged last year.

And yet, Troy is just three wins away from tying their season total of 12 from a year ago.

With 15 games to go in the season, I’d say Troy has a pretty good shot of matching and surpassing that mark.

But statistics alone do not tell the whole story of Troy’s season.

The Trojans refuse to lose. They just won’t do it. And each game, they seem to find a different way to win.

There is never one player who has to carry the team. For Rigby, she has almost an embarrassment of riches she can go to to take over a game.

Six different Troy players have finished a game as the Trojans’ leading scorer this season.

And comebacks? Those have been commonplace for Troy this year.

When one player has an off night, Rigby knows she can rely on several other players to step up. That must be comforting for a coach.

It’s all coming together for Rigby and the Trojans.

Saturday, Troy will host Georgia Southern. With a win, they extend their winning streak to five games.

Whether Troy can do any damage in late February and March, when it really matters, is still unknown. This kind of success, at least in the last two years, is uncharted waters for the Trojans.

But as far as early January?

Yeah, Troy is on a roll.