HOUGHTON - Last season, with the Michigan Tech women's basketball team a comfortable 7-2 heading into the winter break, the Huskies may have relaxed too much during their week off, leading to a double-overtime loss to Indianapolis upon the players' return.
After the loss, coach Kim Cameron hinted that the team did not stay as sharp while away from Houghton as she had hoped they would.
There were no such issues this season.
"I think we are really fortunate that the attitude this team has taken has been 'we are ready to play,'" Cameron said. "We haven't played in a long time, and I've found more excitement this week going into these games, maybe even more than I expected. It has been an awesome week since we got back. I have been really happy with the atmosphere they have created for themselves."
Starting with Ohio Dominican today and Tiffin this Saturday, the Huskies are looking to jump-start the new year with a smooth offensive performance.
Tech has rolled through its first four GLIAC games to a 4-0 record (five wins in a row overall), but has not always played to the sum of its parts in that stretch.
Much of the issue comes when the Huskies cannot get the ball inside to sophomore Kylie Moxley, causing the offense to stagnate.
Moxley leads the team at 14.5 points per game on a superb 60 percent shooting (No. 2 in the GLIAC) with an 86.7 mark from the free-throw line as well.
Despite the uber-efficient numbers and No. 1 priority in the hierarchy, Moxley ranks third on the team in shots behind Mackenzie Perttu and Dani Blake.
"We view it as touches, not shots," Cameron said. "We run our offense through our post, so if she is getting touches, then we are doing the things we need to do. If she is not, then we're going to struggle, even with our tempo and even with our movement."
"That being said, the games where she is dominating, we need to make sure she has the basketball," Cameron added.
Some of the trouble comes from simply seeing and executing the post entry pass.
The win over Wisconsin-Parkside illustrated that more than ever as Moxley got 15 points on just eight shots, but could have scored even more (before Parkside's second-half double teams) if the Tech guards were quicker to find the sophomore post presence.
"We are still working on that, though it's something that I think we are getting better at it," Cameron said. "I think it's coming together in the right amount of time. Everybody knows that we want the ball inside."
A more efficient offense might help the Huskies avoid the plethora of close games they had been drawn in the first semester.
Six of the first eight games this season have been decided by seven points or less, with Tech taking a 4-2 mark from those contests.
The Huskies played just six of such games all of last season.
"My hair is grey," Cameron said. "But we have had a lot people step up both offensively and defensively and make big time plays."