Rebounds lacking for women’s basketball


Karina Delgado

Eastern foward Grace McRae guards Jacksonville State forward Rayven Pearson in the Panthers 59-50 loss to the Gamecocks Thursday at Lantz Arena. The two forwards squared off in a pivotal rebounding matchup, with McRae grabbing five and Pearson finishing with eight.

Kaitlin Cordes, Women's Basketball Reporter

Rebounds did not abound for the women’s basketball team in its 50-59 loss to Jacksonville State on Thursday.

While the defensive rebounds looked good on paper, it was the offensive rebounds that lacked for the Panthers. Jacksonville State outrebounded Eastern 15-7 on the offensive end.

At times, no Panther even reached for a board. Sophomore forward Jennifer Nehls led the team with eight rebounds followed by sophomore guard Danielle Berry with six.

Jacksonville State’s forwards Tasha Magruder and Rayven Pearson combined for 17 rebounds with Magruder pulling down nine boards. Jacksonville State grabbed 44 rebounds as a team to Eastern’s 35.

Coach Matt Bollant said a big reason for the lack of offensive rebounding is lack of action from the post players when a rebounding opportunity arises.

“That’s a frustration, honestly, because the posts are supposed to go to the boards all the time,” Bollant said. “For Grace McRae not to have an offensive rebound and for Jalisha (Smith) to not have an offensive rebound, and (Jennifer Nehls) had two…but typically (Danielle Berry) is our best offensive rebounder…but she shouldn’t have more offensive rebounds than our posts.”

Nehls still leads the team with 112 total rebounds on the season, but Berry is not far behind; she needs just 12 more rebounds to tie with Nehls.

McRae sits at 91 rebounds this year with Smith trailing by one. Bollant said that improving the posts’ put backs are crucial because losing out on those boards is hurting the team.

  “Our posts have to rebound the ball better, and that’s one of the things that’s killing our program right now,” Bollant said.

McRae may have lent her team a few more rebounds had it not been for a bloody nose that kept her on the bench for much of the second half.  Nehls picked up where McRae left off with three rebounds of her own with Berry and Smith contributing as well.

A lack of rebounds on the Panthers’ part may have been largely due to a tight Jacksonville defense that freshman guard Karle Pace said lived up to it’s reputation. Pace admitted that the Gamecocks’ aggressive defensive strategy made it hard for her team to reach the basket.

Eastern needs to step up its rebounding game before Saturday’s matchup against Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eagles had 33 rebounds per game, and they let opponents snatch just one more rebound in a game.

In Tennessee Tech’s most recent loss to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, the Golden Eagles managed to out rebound the Cougars 41-39. Tennessee Tech’s Mackenzie Coleman pulled down 12 rebounds.

In fact, Tennessee Tech went from having zero offensive rebounds in the first half, to grabbing 14 in the second half. They outrebounded Southern Illinois Edwardsville 27-18 in the second half alone.

The Panthers have their work cut out for them as far as rebounding.  If the board game improves, so will the offense.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]