The Bradley women’s basketball team followed a home loss last Friday with a win on Sunday against Evansville, opening up its four-game homestand with a 1-1 record.
The Braves pulled out a 56-52 win over the Aces, led by senior forward Leti Lerma who proverbially carried the team on her back.
Lerma tallied nearly half of the Braves’ points, scoring 24 of the 56 points, and she grabbed 17 rebounds, which earned her MVC player of the week honors.
Gorski gave credit to Lerma for understanding the Braves needed a win to start the two-week homestand the right way.
“She was just in attack mode,” Gorski said. “She just had a different energy about her, and she knew we didn’t close out the game against SIU. She knows that this stretch of home games is really important to us, and there was no way she was going to leave that game without winning.”
However, Bradley didn’t start its four-game home stand the way it wanted after a 66-57 loss to Southern Illinois Friday night. The Braves struggled from behind the three-point line and the free throw line, shooting 7.7 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
Even with the shooting problems, the Braves had a lead heading into halftime. However, the Braves were outscored 41-27 in the second half thanks to Saluki point guard Rishonda Napier scoring 15 points in the half. Head coach Andrea Gorski attributed the second half problems to some defensive lapses.
“Our game plan was to go over the screens, and we did that in the first half, and the second half we made a couple mistakes,” Gorski said. “We just lost focus for a minute, and we didn’t fight over [the screens] … We’re not a high scoring team, so defensively, we’ve got to follow the game plan all four quarters. We can’t have a mental lapse.”
The Braves now begin the part of the season where they will face conference teams for a second time. Gorski said she recognizes the mindset the coaching staff and the players need to have this time around.
“We can focus our attention on why we didn’t win or why we did win the first time around and make sure we have counters for that,” Gorski said. “I think the second time around, you just can’t get in the trap of, ‘Oh we beat them,’ or ‘We almost beat them.’ You still have to look at film with fresh eyes … You’ve got to get better.”
Bradley will continue its four-game homestand this weekend, as the team hosts Loyola at 7 p.m. tonight and Indiana State at noon Sunday.