WOMEN’s BASKETALL: Toppers’ season has rough start

Michael Casagrande

Only two games into the season, the Lady Toppers are causing premature gray hair for coach Mary Taylor Cowles.

Western struggled in a season opening win against Rhode Island, and No. 6 Texas Tech exploited the weaknesses of Cowles’ young team in an 88-47 loss.

With almost two weeks between Sunday’s Texas Tech loss and Nov. 28, when Western (1-1) travels to the Fresno State Classic to play No. 19 Utah, Cowles hopes the team will learn from its early miscues.

It is the Lady Topper’s defense that has Cowles the most concerned.

“We just have so much to work on and improve,” Cowles said. “Defensively, we are nowhere close to where I’d like to be just in covering our basic defensive principals.”

Cowles did find some positives from her team’s first two outings. Western out-rebounded the Lady Raiders, and the offense is looking good, Cowles said.

“I’m not as worried about the offense,” the second-year coach said. “I think the system is new to the younger girls and I think once they learn it, we will be fine.”

Hobbled by a knee injury, junior guard Leslie Logsdon has had a hard time watching her team compete from the bench. Logsdon strained her knee warming up before the first exhibition game against the Premier All-Stars.

Logsdon hopes to be back for the Utah game and is eager to hit the court again.

“My knee is slowly coming back,” Logsdon said. “I have been doing some rehab with my trainer. I’ve been in the weight room the last couple of days, so we are working on it slowly. My goal is to be back by the Fresno tournament.”

The Lady Toppers want to get Logsdon and her 17.5 points per game back in the lineup as soon as she can perform, Cowles said.

“We do miss out with Leslie being gone at the offensive end,” Cowles said. “I really think Leslie was working hard on both ends of the court prior to getting hurt.”

The youth and inexperience is what is keeping the Lady Toppers from putting it all together, junior guard Camryn Whitaker said.

“We are young,” Whitaker said. “We are trying to come out and learn new things. This is my first season working with these girls. We are trying to get used to each others’ style of play still.”

The already short-handed Lady Toppers have missed the talents of freshman guard Tiffany Zeragoza in the first two games. Zeragoza was suspended for three games for rules violations and will be able to play in the second game of the Fresno State Classic.

Reach Michael Casagrande at [email protected].