After missing the 2011 NAIA Division II National Tournament, the Hastings College Broncos looked to return with a bang after defeating the Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs 57-43 Thursday morning at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, IA.
The first half of the game was as much a defensive success as it was an offensive struggle. Tennessee Wesleyan in particular only shot 17 percent from the field, much of which can be attributed to the excellent defense by the Broncos that recorded three steals and 17 defensive rebounds through the first 20 minutes of the game.
“We knew what they were going to do and we always work on defense so it’s pretty consistent, but there was no real change in scheme in the first half,” said Laurel Zwiener, sophomore center.
A recurring theme in this year’s tournament has been bench scoring as teams have scored both 35 and 39 points from their respective benches. Hastings has been no different. Midway through the second half, the Broncos had 15 points off the bench which counted for just under half of their points at that time.
“I think we can score off the bench. Everyone has off games but so far everyone has stepped up to the plate when we needed them to,” Zwiener said.
As the game neared the end, Tennessee Wesleyan played with greater efficiency, improving their shooting percentage to 23 percent. In reality, they kept the Broncos on their heels in which Hastings never gained more than a ten-point lead until the last two minutes of the game.
“We really need to take care of the ball better and not rush things because when we did have a lead we would turn the ball over and let them back into the game,” Zwiener said.
The Broncos will next play on Friday at 1:45 p.m. versus the winner of the game between College of the Ozarks and Valley City State University.
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