Provided by: Wayland Baptist University
The Alesha Robertson era at Wayland Baptist University began in grand fashion – and with a distinctive Plainview flavor – as the Flying Queens defeated Huston-Tillotson on Saturday night in Hutcherson Center, 94-67.
"I'm feeling better. I'm excited for what we can do," Robertson said, after winning her WBU coaching debut. "I think they played pretty well for the first game. Obviously, we have a lot to work on, but I'm proud of them."
Besides the game being the debut for Robertson, a Plainview native, the Flying Queens' top two scorers also hail from Plainview. Laura Castillo hit three 3-pointers and led five players in double figures with 18 points, followed by another former Plainview High Lady Bulldog, Sydney Hearn, with 15. Angeleigh Davis matched those 15 while Iesha Greer put in 13 and Christie Mooney 11. Stephanie Afunugo, with nine points, just missed giving WBU a sixth player in double digits.
Mooney and Greer both recorded double-doubles with 12 rebounds apiece.
Robertson admitted to being nervous before tip-off.
"It's a whole lot more nerve-wracking to coach than to play (because) you can't get out there and do it for them," she said. "It's very, very nerve-racking, but once that ball goes up, you feel a little bit better."
The Queens led their season-opener at halftime, 46-22.
The Lady Rams, of Austin, were paced by Danielle Franklin's 18 points. Janequa Moore added 12 and Morghan Jones and Mariah Silva got 10 each.
The game, the first for both teams under more stringent foul rules, featured 67 fouls and 93 free throws. The Queens hit 29-of-47 (62 percent) from the stripe while the Lady Rams were 31-of-46 (67 percent). Five players fouled out for HTU, which ended the game with no available substitutes.
"With this new rule, we're trying to attack as much as we can," Robertson said, adding that the Flying Queens must become more proficient at the free-throw line. "We have to hit free throws. Those are not where we want them to be, so that's something we have to work on."
Robertson also wasn't happy with her team's 17 turnovers, which was four less than Huston-Tillotson. Still, the coach, who promised a more up-tempo offense, was pleased with the pace with which the Flying Queens played.
"We were a little bit sloppy. Our goal is to get them (turnovers) under 10, but we did play at the tempo I want," she said. "We want to pick it up even more. We're not quite where we want to be, but at least we're on the right path.
"We're going to clean that up and it's going to look a lot better."
While Wayland held a substantial rebounding edge, 65-44, Robertson said that aspect needs to improve, too.
"I think they tried to do what we asked them to do, but we have to make better contact on block-outs," she said.
Wayland shot 42 percent (30-of-71) from the field and 25 percent (5-of-20) from 3-point range.
"We missed some baby shots that we normally make," Robertson said.
One thing the young coach was thrilled to see was the crowd, estimated at more than 500 people.
"Everybody who showed up helped us a ton," she said. "We want that kind of fan support, and we want to add to it. The crowd is something we want to continue to get better. That's a big-time motivator."
The Flying Queens next take the floor at 6 p.m. Thursday in a doubleheader with the Pioneers against University of the Southwest (Hobbs, N.M.).
Overall, Robertson is relieved to get her debut behind her, and get that first win.
"I'm happy for the girls. Am I satisfied? I don't think I ever will be," she said. "But it's good to be able to play. Now I know what we need to concentrate on."