The Tabor College women’s basketball team had a difficult opening night, losing to the College of the Ozarks Bobcats in Hillsboro. The Tabor women, ranked 12th by the NAIA, were overwhelmed by the No. 6-ranked Bobcats, 92-53.
“They’re definitely a top-10 team,” coach Shawn Reed said afterward. “We didn’t do the things we needed to, and I told them we have a long ways to go this year.”
The Bobcats came in with two games under their belts, and it made a difference as the game moved along.
The Bluejays ran with the Bobcats for the first two quarters. They trailed 21-14 after one quarter and 41-34 at halftime, and were shooting a solid 48 percent from the field.
The wheels fell off for Tabor in the third quarter. Through the 10-minute period, the home team managed a mere seven points while the Bobcats ripped the nets for 33. The Bluejays shot less than 28 percent success in the second half.
“We knew they were a great rebounding team and we gave up too many second chances,” Reed said. “They shoot the three extremely well and we knew that.”
Kristin Wedel led Tabor with 12 points, with Amber Bonham, Tristen Leiszler and Morgan Ediger each adding seven. Meanwhile, the Bobcats had four players in double figures, led by Shelby Roberts with 20, Kelsie Cleeton with 17, Madisen Brethower with 12 and Abby Oliver with 11.
Despite being selected as the preseason favorite to win the KCAC title, Reed said this team is a very different group from a year ago.
“We graduated some really important kids, we have some big shoes to fill,” he said. “We had to change the way we play a little bit because of our personnel. We’ll get better, but we have a long way to go.
“People are eager to beat us because we’ve had some success,” he added. “If you don’t come out and execute and match that intensity, and if we can’t make better decisions, we will struggle.
“We’re going to have to learn how to fight and do the things we need to do.”
To get there, Reed said his team will need to step up the pace during practice.
“I’ve been telling them that, but sometimes it’s just better to experience some things and figure out how far you have to go,” he said. “We have talent and we have some experience, but we have a lot of people who are stepping into new roles.
“I told some of the returners before the season started, this will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. I don’t think they believed me, but maybe they’re starting to a little bit, because they’re going to have to work five times harder than they are right now.”
Coming—Tabor will return to action this weekend when they compete Friday and Saturday at the Warrior Classic hosted by Sterling College.
The Bluejays (0-2) will take on Central Methodist University from Fayette, Mo., at 2 p.m. Friday, then will face Briar Cliff University on Saturday with a 1 p.m. start.
Tabor will open KCAC play Wednesday, Nov. 15, when the team travels to Southwestern College in Winfield.