Women’s wheelchair basketball loses two of three over weekend



By Josh Birnbaum

The Illinois women’s wheelchair basketball team had another tough weekend, facing the University of Edinboro Fighting Scots twice and losing both times. In between, they played a Pittsburgh-based women’s club team, the Steel City Starz, who they handily defeated, 54-4.

The first half of their first game of the weekend at Edinboro was not pretty. Plagued by turnovers from bad passing, the Illini women only scored 11 points.

“The women came out and started the game, and it looked like their minds were someplace else,” head coach Mike Frogley said.

But Illinois played the Fighting Scots evenly in the second half, with the teams scoring 20 points each. Edinboro held on to its lead, though, winning 48-31.

The Illini shot 39.5 percent for the game, while Edinboro shot 32.8 percent from the field.

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The second game for the women was less of a challenge, which allowed Frogley to give some minutes to some of his less-seasoned players.

“Frogley really wanted the (underclassmen) to work on ball-handling and shooting,” said Amanda McGrory, who was the top scorer with 12 points in the game, “which is good because against the men’s teams, I am not really strong enough or big enough or fast enough to put myself in those positions.”

Reflecting on why this game was so easy for the women, Frogley noted that the Steel City Starz don’t practice nearly as much as the Illini and are still a developing team.

The Illini completely dominated the court, keeping the Starz to 3.13 percent shooting, giving Illinois an easy win.

The women’s final game, against the Edinboro men’s team, was again a challenge. But the Illini played good defense in the first half, making the Fighting Scots pull out the full-court press, a tactic not typically used by men’s teams against women’s teams.

As a result, Edinboro scored only 22 points in the first half.

Nevertheless, the Illini defense broke down later in the game, allowing Edinboro to improve to 61.5 percent shooting in the second half from its 27.3 percent in the first half. Edinboro came away with the win, 54-27.

After seeing the second half, Frogley said to his team, “We have to toughen up on defense, holy mackerel.”

Regardless, he was pleased overall.

“I loved that the Edinboro men’s team pressed us,” Frogley said. “But in the second half … we stop communicating, and we forget how many things we did right.”

Sarah Castle, who contributed six points and five rebounds, said the men play at the same level against women as they do against other men.

“We’re learning that there’s no break for us in these kinds of games,” she said.

Amanda McGrory feels that playing men’s teams will give them a large advantage over the other women’s teams they will see at Nationals in two weeks.

“I don’t think there are any women’s teams out there who could play with the men like this,” McGrory said.