The new year brought great change for the Columbia College women’s basketball team.
Although Charliss Ridley, a junior forward, is their only new player for 2004, the Cougars must all modify their roles to accommodate her.
Saturday’s 92-69 defeat of Missouri Baptist, an American Midwest Conference oppponent, at The Arena of Southwell Complex showed the Cougars are adjusting well to their new roles.
Ridley, who made her Columbia College debut Jan. 2, led the Cougars with 22 points. She sat out the Cougars’ previous 11 games because of a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. She transferred from Missouri in May.
Lisa Kowalewski scored 21 on 8-of-11 shooting. Kowalewski is the school’s all-time leading scorer, but she said even she has had to adjust since Ridley’s arrival.
“I think all of our roles change,” she said. “We went through a lot of adjustments at the beginning of the year, and we’re still going through the adjustments. I think we’re now taking the roles we need to.”
Ridley gives the Cougars (11-7, 2-0) another versatile post player starting with Mindy Mitchem and LeAnn Fossum. All players are 6 feet and possess good shooting, passing and ballhandling skills.
The Cougars dominated the interior, outrebounding the Spartans 57-32.
The Cougars also blocked 11 shots, including Mitchem’s game-high five.
Ridley said the Cougars’ post players have an advantage against most of their opponents.
“We’re all able to play different positions,” she said. “In practice, we work a lot on sharing the ball with each other and talking in that 3-2 (zone) defense. We’re just having a good time playing with each other.”
The Spartans’ Martina Gandzalova scored all 18 of her points in the first half, despite being limited to 13 minutes because of foul trouble. She committed her third foul with 11:13 until halftime, but Spartan coach Danny Wingate opted to leave Gandzalova on the floor for two more minutes. Gandzalova picked up her fourth foul with 3:46 left in the first and her team trailing 34-29.
Gandzalova returned with 14:00 left and her team down 59-48. Tilly Payne drew a Gandzalova charge and fouled her out with 11:29 left.
The Spartans (7-8, 0-2) trailed 68-54 at that point, and Gandzalova’s dismissal triggered a 12-2 Cougar run that extended their lead to 80-56.