Not long ago, Tom Smith figured his Anne Arundel Community College women's basketball team would be 0-2 heading into tomorrow's home opener against Washington Bible.
An 0-1 record doesn't look so bad, even if the Pioneers occasionally did in losing to Bowie State last week.
They avoided another potential setback Tuesday when the University of the District of Columbia dropped its women's program because of a lack of players.
"We wanted to face those tougher teams early. I'm not worried about winning right now. That will come," Smith said.
He certainly doesn't appear worried about the 62-45 loss to the Division II Bulldogs, saying the margin "isn't an indication of how close the game was."
"We had our chances to come back and didn't. Twoor three times we pulled within five, but then we had breakdowns," Smith said.
"There were a lot of turnovers by both teams. Our presscaused them to turn it over more than 20 times, but we gave it back to them 25 times. They capitalized, and we didn't."
Anne Arundel also failed to take advantage at the line, hitting just 14 of 31 free throws.
"We didn't shoot well, we didn't rebound well. And we let Bowie State get off to a quick start," Smith said.
Once reason wasthe Bulldogs' 1-3-1 trapping zone, something Anne Arundel didn't expect.
"I thought they'd play a man-to-man. It caused us a lot of trouble. We weren't as prepared as we should have been for the 1-3-1 trap," Smith said.
"It kind of shocked us," said sophomore point guard Stacey Dent (South River). "There are different ways to approach it. But this will refresh our memories. Last year, we saw the 1-3-1 once in a while. We've been working on attacking from the wings."
Smith isn't quite sure what he'll see from Division III Washington Bible, but figures his team has a better chance at victory than it did against a physical Bowie State squad that "tried to intimidate us a little."
Washington Bible "doesn't have the caliber of players most of the other Division III schools have. We have a good shot at doing well before opening the JuCo season at Dundalk Tuesday," he said.
Smith will see a familiar face at Dundalk in former Brooklyn Park standout Julie Thomas. For now, he's just glad to see all 10 of his players at one time.
Sophomore Nikki Beall (Meade) and freshman Stephanie Sweetman (Riverdale Baptist) have recovered from ankle injuries that caused them to miss practice time.
"This is the first time we've had 10 players together since westarted," Smith said. "We run over a lot of things in practice, and certain kids missed certain things. And it showed last week."
Against Washington Bible, Smith hopes his players can adapt better to their own zone trapping and jump switching. Thus far, they've been hesitant to leave their man to double-team someone else, fearing an unattended opposing player will convert aneasy basket.
"They have to have confidence in the other players on the court. It takes time to develop that within a team, that they can leave people and someone else will switch over," Smith said.
Sophomore forward Rhonda DeShaw called the Bowie State loss "a learningexperience" that should aid the Pioneers in future games.
"We knew Bowie was a strong team, but we went out and tried our hardest," she said. "We're not discouraged."