And University of West Georgia women’s basketball coach Scott Groninger said it may not even take that much when his Wolves step between the lines with bitter league rival Valdosta State tonight at 5:30 in The Coliseum.
“I would say that’s probably pretty accurate again. It might even be 50. But, yeah, I’d expect it’s going to be that way again,” Groninger said of anticipating another defensive slugfest. “But that’s what happens when you get into conference. There’s not a lot of secrets and players know the other players and the coaches all know, too. It comes down to execution. It’s just harder to score.”
The Wolves (7-4, 1-2 GSC) are looking to rebound from Saturday’s 81-62 GSC setback at West Alabama tonight when they play their first home game in nearly a month — dating back to Dec. 18 — and they’ll have to focus on stopping the Lady Blazers’ 1-2 punch of sophomore point guard Kourtnee Williams and senior forward Brittney Nelson.
Nelson is averaging a double-double, scoring 14.3 points and pulling down a GSC-best 11.3 rebounds per game, while Williams — the reigning GSC Player of the Week — is averaging 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.9 assists per outing for VSU (9-3, 2-2).
“[Nelson has] really had an outstanding start to the conference. Last year she was more of a three player, but this year they’ve moved her into the four spot. She’s just really done a great job for them. She plays 39-plus minutes — as do all five of their starters — but Brittney Nelson is really off to a great start. She can score, she’s a shooter, a great rebounder. We’re going to have our hands full covering her,” Groninger said.
“Then Kourtnee Williams, she’s another good, smaller guard that can really shoot. She’s a 3-point shooter, but she can drive — she goes left, she goes right.”
The Wolves have a chance to climb over .500 in the GSC should they pull off a pair of wins this weekend and hold court at home — West Florida comes to town on Saturday at 2 p.m. — and Groninger understands the value these next two games hold. Of course, the UWG coach won’t be looking past the Lady Blazers, by any means, but a win tonight sets the stage toward building some positive momentum.
“Anytime you have two home games in a row, that’s a big weekend,” Groninger said. “Everybody in the league has got basically the same type of schedule. And that’s what Valdosta did. They went and lost two on the road and they came back last week and had a big weekend and won two. It’s what you’ve got to do to be successful in this league.”
And with the students back on campus and a rival en route to The Coliseum, Groninger is looking forward to a home-court advantage to help push his squad over the top, noting how nice it is to finally be back home.
“It really is. I think this year, like most years in the conference, you’ve got to win at home and you’ve got to try to steal a couple on the road. We’re definitely looking forward to playing at home [Thursday]. We’re anticipating a big crowd and are excited to get out and play,” Groninger said.