The Bradley women’s basketball team defeated Quincy University in an exhibition game last Saturday 91-62.
There were many stoppages as it was a physical game with 48 fouls, but Bradley prevailed, out-rebounding the Hawks 58-30.
The Braves took the lead at the 8:39 mark in the first half on a layup by sophomore Nyjah White and maintained it until the final buzzer.
Bradley simply was bigger, stronger and quicker than their Division II opponent.
Junior forward Chelsea Brackman finished with a 10-point 11-rebound double-double in just 15 minutes of action. Head coach Andrea Gorski was impressed with the efficiency of Brackman.
“Chelsea was real vocal out there,” Gorski said. “She’s a good leader and is directing traffic defensively for us. We need her to have double-doubles like that and take control of the boards [to be successful].”
Brackman’s defensive leadership will be key to the Braves success this season. Although Bradley finished with two fewer personal fouls and three fewer turnovers than Quincy there were too many concerns for Gorski to be comfortable.
“We have to defend without fouling and be more disciplined,” Gorski said. “That’s our number one [focus as we prepare to open the regular season].”
Sophomore forward Nyjah White, who started alongside Brackman in the post, finished with a team high 16 points, three assists, four steals and one block. She played to her strengths by leading in transition on many occasions.
“I kept it simple like coach told me,” White said.
Gorski came into the season looking for her team to get out and score easy buckets in the open court.
“We are a transition team and our mentality is to always run the ball,” Gorski said. “[White] leads a lot and makes a lot of stuff happen for us.”
Exhibition games serve as tune-up games, so Gorski was able to give playing time to every player on the roster.
A prime example of this would be junior Ellisha Davis and freshman Tatum Koenig, the two new point guards Gorski brought into the program, who did not turn the ball over once the entire game.
Davis earned the starting nod and her coach’s trust with a strong summer and preseason.
“She’s a steady player and I was happy she pressured their guards,” Gorski said. “She’s a smart point guard. Your point guard sets the tone and I thought she did a good job.”
Davis dished out three assists and White felt that she has brought a new type of energy to the floor as the starter.
“It’s a different atmosphere this year with [Koenig] and Ellisha transferring over,” White said.
White believes that, at times, the team struggled to communicate effectively and must be more vocal all-around.
“Communication was a big thing for us today. I think our mishaps defensively was probably [because of poor] communication,” White said.
The Braves will look to sure up their defense in preparation for the start of the regular season tomorrow.
“We missed some assignments and were not denying hard enough,” Gorski said. “We had spurts and then some breakdowns. It was good to play for the first time in front of a crowd today, but it is about getting down to the basics defensively.”
The Braves host Southeast Missouri State tomorrow. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Renaissance Coliseum. Last season, Bradley fell to SEMO in Cape Girardeau, Missouri by four points after trailing by 12 at halftime.
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