HOUGHTON - The 69-60 loss at Northern Michigan last Saturday, in which the Michigan Tech women's team blew a 14-point second half lead, was so excruciating Kim Cameron declined to speak with the media after the game to give herself a chance to cool off.
It didn't work.
Looking at the game tape Sunday - with missed box-out after missed box-out leading to 13 second-half offensive rebounds - Cameron was still seething by the time the Super Bowl took an electricity timeout.
Michigan Tech’s Sam Hoyt makes a move on a Northern Michigan defender during Saturday’s game at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. (DMG photo by Meagan Stilp)
And she was still fuming Monday by practice time.
So, acknowledging that her team will takes its cue from her, Cameron decided to stop trying to mentally push past the Northern loss and embrace the anger for (hopefully) more energetic play against Ferris State today and Grand Valley State Saturday.
"This one was the first time as coach that I said that I want us to move forward but I want us to keep a piece of it in the back of our minds," Cameron said. "Take it personal, remember how bad it felt and remember what you could have done differently to prevent it. It needs to stay in the back of our heads to motivate us a little bit."
If a Tech player is seeking any good vibes to mix with that Northern rage, they only need to look at the film from the Huskies' 60-46 thrashing of Ferris in Big Rapids to pick themselves up.
Cameron called it the finest defensive performance of the season and all relevant stats back that up.
Tech held Ferris to 0.70 points per possession, with 32.7 percent shooting overall and 17 turnovers forced.
Take out stud guard Sarah DeShone's 9-of-15 shooting, and the rest of the Bulldogs managed just 8-of-37 from the floor.
"We were really, really sharp," Cameron said. "We were in positions before they could even react. Our help-side was awesome and our ball screen defense was really good. we were incredibly sharp that game."
To repeat that defensive performance, it will once again require a five-man effort to prevent DeShone (18.6 points per game) from getting the rest of her teammates involved.
Bulldog guards Ashley Rando (36 percent) and Kara Hess (43 percent) are dangerous from three while Kylie Muntz (10.1 PPG) works effectively down low off DeShone's penetration.
"It is discipline," Cameron said. "You have to know who you are guarding -we know how many times someone has gone left or right for the past 15 games - and you have to execute it. That is the only way you can win (against repeat opponents)."
At Ferris, Tech freshman center Kylie Moxley led the team with 19 points (9-of-15 shooting) as she was able to bully her defenders with power moves.
But as Cameron notes, game tape doesn't lie, and a quick check of the Northern loss will show Moxley stubbornly going to her right hand every single play, sometimes forsaking a wide-open left-handed layup.
With many offensive sets centering around Moxley's play in the post, her ability to adjust and win one-on-one battles will set the ceiling for how efficient Tech's offense can be.
"Especially when people are face-guarding Sam Hoyt and there is a one-on-one battle inside, you have to win it," Cameron said. "If she gets a great ball, that has to be her two points.
"(Northern) took away her right hand and she has to be able to go left. That is it. Until she gets better at it, they are going to cut that off from her. And I will say, she has been working non-stop, because she can tell."
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