■ 21 November 2012 | 1:20 PM
In the interest of transparency, I didn’t get to attend Old Dominion’s 62-46 win over the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, a game which earned ODU a measure of revenge for a loss the previous year.
Fortunately, basketball is full of statistics, and here are three things that could be gleaned from the box score.
These are still college athletes and ODU is still young – There will be good days, bad days and in-between days for college athletes. The Lady Monarchs likely earned a road win despite one of the in-between days against UMES. After three straight blowout wins at home to open the season and facing a fourth below-average opponent, I might have been spoiled into thinking things were automatic for ODU again. I expected another blowout, particularly with the emotion of last year taking over. But this was ODU’s first road trip of the year, a mid-week jaunt right before a holiday, and, heck, they’re still college kids. After those blowouts, it’s easy to forget three of the five members of the starting lineup are still sophomores. The Lady Monarchs can’t be as consistent as they were the first three games for the entire season, but they should be good enough to have a chance to win most nights. On this nights, decent was good enough for a 16-point win.
Turnovers are the key – The biggest difference between Old Dominion’s 20-point margins in its first three games and its 16-point win against UMES were turnovers. The Lady Monarchs committed 26 against Maryland-Eastern Shore. It was ODU’s first poor performance in that stat and, not coincidentally, its least impressive win. Turnover margin will tell the tale of ODU’s year.
Tiffany Minor is another X-Factor on a team full of them – It seems pretty obvious that Jackie Cook will be ODU’s go-to scorer. Shae Kelley is option No. 2. But the NBA and basketball are full of big-threes, which means another player will likely need to perform most nights. The Lady Monarchs have already seen Becca Allison and Myeisha Hall fill that roll in previous games. On Wednesday, Minor was the third amiga with nine points and five rebounds. She looks stronger this year, but is still thin. If she’s physical enough to hang on the defensive end, she is a huge boost to the ODU offense.