7 reach double digits in season-opening win

7 reach double digits in season-opening win
Wayland Baptist (Source: Wayland Baptist University)

Information provided by Wayland Athletics

Alesha Ellis knew she had a lot of depth, but even the Flying Queens head coach had to be impressed when seven players scored in double figures in No. 23 Wayland Baptist's 97-39 season-opening victory over University of the Southwest on Friday night in Hutcherson Center.

"We executed really well tonight. I feel like this team has good chemistry, and they're smart basketball players which always helps," Ellis said. "I'm super excited about the team."

Gabby Gonzales scored 15 points and Kendrick Clark 14 to pace the Flying Queens' impressive offensive output. Both Gonzales, a senior, and Clark, a sophomore, came off the bench, as did sophomore Kambrey Blakey who scored 10 and pulled down 10 rebounds in her WBU debut.

In addition, four of Wayland's starters reached double-digit points: junior Maci Merket and sophomore Deborah VanDijk with 12 each and sophomore Morgan Bennett and senior Nina Sato with 10 apiece.

Sato joined Blakey in recording a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. Bennett handed out eight assists while Clark had seven steals and Merket six toward WBU's 23-steal total.

"Right now we're trying to look at different lineups and see which ones mesh together," Ellis said. "We have a few lineups that are really good.
"Tonight everyone played their roles and stuck with the game plan and did really well."

Against a team playing its fourth game of the season, the Flying Queens won their eighth straight season-opener. The last time Wayland dropped its season debut (not counting exhibition games) was a 79-77 loss to Southwest to start the 2009-10 campaign.

WBU led 30-12 after the first quarter and 55-20 at halftime.

Ellis said the Flying Queens recorded 10 "kills" in the first half. (A kill is a series of three straight defensive stops). "We've never had 10 in a row before," the coach said. "Defensively we looked good."

Wayland out-rebounded USW (1-3), 68-29, including 33 offensive boards. Seven of Sato's rebounds were on the offensive end.

Two areas of concern for the Flying Queens were free throws (15-of-26, 58 percent) and turnovers. Ellis said her team's 19 turnovers is "something we can do better at. A lot were unforced. We have to keep getting better there."

Wayland put up 86 shots, hitting 36 for 42 percent. The Queens were 10-of-28 from 3-point range (36 percent). The Lady Mustangs ended 13-of-52 overall (25 percent) and 3-of-15 from distance (20 percent).

"Tonight was good for us going into tomorrow," Ellis said in anticipating of Wayland's game against West Texas A&M at 2 p.m. Saturday. The game is an exhibition for both schools. It will be the first action of the season for WT, ranked No. 9 in NCAA Division II.

Ellis said her players are "ready to go. The girls know it's a big game and know what to expect. We have to get in there and execute the best we can. We're going to be able to compete if we'll execute on both ends of the floor."

"The girls are excited."