THE Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits must ensure they are locked in on defence during a crucial two-game stretch if they hope to remain a finals contender, coach Jim Wilson says.
Led by a succession of dominant offensive performances from import Emilee Harmon, the Lady Bandits have had little trouble putting a good score on the board.
But losses to Launceston last weekend (115-91) and Ballarat (84-73) have left Wilson wanting greater intensity when the Bandits don’t have the ball.
“Our defensive rotations, our ability to contain hasn’t been there,” he said.
“We’ve been able to score well, but we have to be better at limiting opportunities for other teams.
“Players are having career nights against us, we have to do a better job at stopping them.”
It isn’t star players who are getting the better of the defence – the Lady Bandits have been consistent in limiting the influence of the opposition;s best players for the most part this season.
Role players though, have gotten of the leash, either with hot shooting from outside or with cheap baskets around the rim.
Launceston’s Ellie Collins was a case in point – usually averaging 15 points per game, the shooting guard detonated for 27 points against the Lady Bandits last week, including six of seven threes.
“I do think we should be higher up in the standings, because of those defensive issues we’ve allowed teams to score more than they should have,” Wilson said.
“There’s a few games we probably should have won, the next couple of weeks we need to lock down and get the win we deserve.
“The next two games are very critical.”
The positive for Wilson is that he believe some of the defensive issues mostly come down to effort.
The team has drilled defensive fundamentals this week, and the coach in confident his team can return to the winner’s list.
“We’ve given up too many easy baskets inside by not boxing out, not jumping for boards, those fundamentals, which ended up opening the perimeter for them,” Wilson said.
“The Tornadoes were at the free throw line 36 times last week as well, any good shooting team will knock those down.
“On the plus side, those are relatively easy to fix.”
The Lady Bandits will travel to Canberra on Saturday to face the Capitals Academy, who have started well, with four wins from their seven games.
They’re coming off a two game losing streak and will be looking to push towards the top four, led by Keely Froling and Maddison Penn.