MISHAWAKA—With about a month left in the women’s basketball season, the Lady Pilots sit at 9-13 and 4-6 in the Crossroads League. With a 4-6 start in the conference, and nine wins overall, it is the best start to a year since the 2016-17 season, when the Pilots went 10-21 overall, and 7-11 in the conference.
“I feel like we’ve improved a lot,” said Bethel Women’s Basketball head coach, Doug Porter. “Our team is starting to come together, and I think we are able to play more aggressively. We are also moving the ball better than we did earlier in the season. I think over the past couple of games we’ve been able to score more consistently. And I think the tempo we play at has stepped up here in the past couple of games.
The thing that separates the Pilots is their pace of play and their ability to force turnovers. The Pilots rank first in the nation in steals per game at 17.8, and they have the depth to force teams to make turnovers because of how fresh they can be. The Pilots have fifteen players that average over nine minutes per game. They also boast three of the top four steal-getters in the entire conference, with Nyla Asad at 2.6 per game, Maiah Shelton at 2.3 per game, and Addi Jones at 2.1 per game.
“We play a very aggressive style anyways,” said Porter. “So, it’s not really surprising to me that we would get a lot of steals. We lead the country in steals. If we don’t get a steal, we end up giving up a lot of good shots to the opponent, so that’s the trade-off. But we’re okay with that if we’re forcing turnovers.”
Although the Pilots are still below .500 and fighting for a mid-table finish in the Crossroads League, they have a lot of room to improve. Eleven of the seventeen players currently on the Pilots roster are underclassmen including three freshman that have really started to find their stride this season. Maiah Shelton has started ten games this season and averages 12.1 points per game. Addi Jones has also started ten games this season and averages 5.2 points per game but has paired that with 3.4 assists per game. Lastly, Abby Williams has also started ten games this season and averages 5.4 points per game and 5 rebounds per game.
“They’ve been a pleasant surprise,” said Porter. “Being able to contribute as much as they have has been nice. Maiah Shelton has had a nice start to her year. She had a career-high 26 points in her last game. Addi Jones, one of our point guards, has scored consistently, and in our last game she had eight assists and zero turnovers. Which is impressive for a freshman that hasn’t played that position until this year. Abby Williams has also been a good rebounder and defensive player for us as well. So, all three of them have done a good job.”
For more information on Bethel Women’s Basketball visit https://www.bupilots.com/sport/womens-basketball.