When Christine Hyde tells Kelsi Baker she’s going to the glass, Baker better follow suit.
Hyde, a converted guard who has taken to her new post position rather well, leads the team in rebounding this season. Baker, a forward, can’t just stand idly by while a former guard imposes her will in the post, so after the first three games, where Hyde led the team in rebounding and Tech was outrebounded each game, the Red Raiders adjusted to better crash the boards.
“All year that’s been a point of emphasis,” said Baker, whose team was outrebounded by 13, nine and three to start the season, “but after those two games and after we got out-rebounded, we really wanted to make it a point of emphasis. And we as a team are working a lot harder and doing it.”
Baker said the team has started holding itself more accountable, something coach Kristy Curry also said about the uptick in rebounding.
Tech (7-1) has grabbed more boards than its opponent in each game since averaging a plus-15 rebounding margin.
“We’re constantly pushing them in practice every day,” Curry said. “You know do your job on the glass, and if your job is to go to the opposite glass with all your might, then go with all your might and obviously on the defensive end all five have to rebound.”
Curry said the Lady Raiders are undersized — partly thanks to Shauntal Nobles’ recovery from Guillan-Barré Syndrome — but Tech’s guards aren’t shying away from the glass.
Chynna Brown tied for a team-high eight rebounds in Tech’s last game, a 75-56 win against Illinois on Dec. 5.
Hyde embraces her small stature, saying it gives her somewhat of an advantage.
“I know I’m a little nimble and I can get in areas where a lot of big post players can’t go,” said Hyde, who averages 6.1 rebounds a game. “So I feel like if I crash, I have the advantage of speed. And there’s a little height disadvantage that I have, but I feel like if I use my speed, I can get around to places that a lot of post players won’t be able to get to me at.”
One of the most improved rebounders Tech has is Jackie Patterson, who transferred from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College in the offseason.
Patterson, who at 6-foot-1 is often the tallest Lady Raider on the court, said she heard from coaches in practice how she was averaging only a couple of rebounds per game early in the season. In her first four games, she grabbed more than three rebounds only once. Since, she’s averaged more than seven a contest, including her first double-double in 81-38 stomping of New Orleans.
“I don’t think I was in the right mindset,” Patterson said. “Because, like juco is not easy-easy, but it’s a lot easier than what I’m dealing with right now. I’m just trying to switch up my mindset. Like, ‘these girls are a lot bigger.’ So I just got my mindset and started crashing it and good results came out.”
The Lady Raiders, in the midst of a 11-day break from games, face Northern Colorado at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $1, and fans will be granted access to both the women’s game and the men’s game, which starts at 5 p.m.
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