The article below originally appeared on San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
The saying goes that there are lies, damn lies and statistics.
Sometimes, though, numbers do tell the entire story. In Friday’s Coast Conference North Division women’s basketball game against Skyline, the College of San Mateo hauled in 30 — yes, 30 — offensive rebounds. Not surprisingly, the host Bulldogs went on for a 68-54 win.
CSM (1-1 Coast Conference, 10-7 overall) did everything it was supposed to do against a smaller Skyline (1-3, 4-13) team. The Bulldogs scored 34 of its 68 points on second, third and sometimes fourth-chance opportunities. Time and again, CSM would miss a shot only to grab an offensive board and put it right back in.
The Bulldogs were playing pitch and catch, only this was basketball. Erica Hayes led CSM with 21 points and post Trish Malaspina added 20 and 12 rebounds, including eight offensive. After years of watching opposing teams dominate her squad on the boards, Bulldogs coach Michelle Warner was ecstatic to be on the dominating side for once.
“(Having a rebounding advantage) is something we’ve been striving for,” she said.
CSM was coming off a season-best 62 rebound effort in Wednesday’s win over Mission, but Friday’s performance took the cake. Because of the Bulldogs’ decisive advantage on the glass, they took a whopping 31 more shots (82-51) than the Trojans.
A team is not going to lose too many games with that kind of advantage. Yet Skyline did make things interesting for a while. CSM never trailed and led by as many as 15 points early in the second half. But the Trojans — despite its rebounding woes and turnover issues — more on that later — hung tough for most of the contest.
They got to within four points, 51-47, on Noelani Gi’s runner in the lane with 8 minutes, 28 seconds remaining. But Skyline would get no closer. CSM answered with a 9-0 run, capped by Janisa Jones’ length-of-the-floor driving layup. Malaspina started the blitz with putbacks on three consecutive possessions.
The Trojans somehow managed to stay competitive despite committing 35 turnovers, nearly half of which came via traveling violations. The rebounding and ball-protection issues made it a long night for Skyline coach Trisha Hosley.
“We tried to box out, but we’re small,” she said. “We haven’t been that bad all year (with the traveling violations). I think the girls were just excited (playing a local rival). Their feet were going faster than their head.”
Although CSM won, it wasn’t an artistic masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. The Bulldogs committed 30 turnovers themselves, shot just 30.5 percent (25 of 82) from the floor and didn’t put away Skyline earlier when it had all sorts of chances to do exactly that.
“I felt there was a lack of focus,” Warner said. “It was really hard to find our rhythm and we just have to keep on working on all the little things.”
Warner said she was pleased with the way her team attacked Skyline’s defense. CSM is definitely more patient offensively than last year. It doesn’t hoist up 3-pointers on a whim and it looks to establish its inside game from the start.
CSM clearly had the superior team and it showed. As one of the smallest teams around, Skyline could do little in stopping the Bulldogs’ onslaught on the glass. The Trojans’ sloppy play prevented any serious chance of a comeback. Hosley, though, felt her team played the game it wanted.
“We had the tempo,” she said. “We didn’t want the game to be out of control and crazy (like some of our games in the past).”
Rachelle Hwee led the Trojans with 20 points and Gi finished with 15. While Skyline has had playoff-caliber teams in the last couple of years, it is going through a rebuilding phase this season. CSM, meanwhile, has the potential to make the playoffs this season. However, Warner knows her team must improve in order for that to happen.
“It’s nice to have the (extra) bodies and all the pieces,” she said. “But as a coach you’re always looking to fix some things, and we have things to work on.”