Draxten, Nesbitt 3-point stars in Game Time contest

BY TRAVIS VARNER | JULY 10, 2009 7:10 AM

Iowa players Hannah Draxten and Trisha Nesbitt shot lights-out from beyond the arc, propelling L.L. Pelling Company/Cullen Painting to a 95-84 victory over Goodfellow Printing/Imprinted Sportswear.

The two Hawkeyes combined for nearly half of their team’s offensive production thanks to a phenomenal 3-point shooting display — 21 of Draxten’s 26 points were from 3-point land and 15 of Nesbitt’s 25 were from downtown.

Draxten felt her shot was falling because she got into a fluid rhythm and her teammates contributed solid ball movement.

“We’re patient on offense and passed the ball a couple of times, and whoever was open didn’t hesitate to shoot the shot with confidence,” the Iowa sophomore said. “I really have to credit our shooting.”

That confidence ignited a fire in Draxten in the second half, and she scored 15 points in the final seven minutes.

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Pelling/Cullen coach Randy Larson said he had a great time coaching because the team fought hard and battled the whole way. While the game was a seesaw battle into the second half, he was pleased with his team’s ability to make adjustments down the stretch. Those late-game changes enabled Pelling/Cullen to run away in the final minutes.

“Well, the fun thing was the game was just nip and tuck all the way,” Larson said. “Then, Hannah and Trisha Nesbitt shot so well on 3s that it just kind of wore them down. I just thought our girls were taking the shots that were there for them instead of trying to be a little overeager.”

Their shots pummeled a seemingly tired Goodfellow/Imprinted team in the second half. Failing to guard the shooters, throwing erratic passes, and getting back on defense were just some of the squad’s second-half woes. Goodfellow/Imprinted seemed out of gas in the final 10 minutes.

The coach, Brendan Unkrich, Goodfellow/Imprinted’s fatigue may have been the result of having only seven players. Although frustrated with the collapse down the stretch, he didn’t fault his players’ enthusiasm.

“The effort was there,” Unkrich said. “We just did not have an answer to the 3-point game tonight. It’s tough to match 3-pointer for 3-pointer. With a short bench, having seven players, not to make excuses, but we had some tired women out there.”

Goodfellow/Imprinted’s Kristi Smith said the whole team was exhausted near the end of the game, but she though their struggles were due to their inability to guard in the second half.

“Our transition defense was not good,” the former Hawkeye point guard said. “When we were in man, we weren’t finding our players, so they were getting wide open 3s, which hurt us.”

Hurting both team’s performances Thursday night was the high number of personal fouls. With more than 30 combined fouls, the game speed was near a crawl. To prevent a late rally, Larson instructed his team to ease back a little on defense because of the risk of fouling.

“In most games, the other team is going to score 25 to 30 points from the free-throw line,” Larson said. “You might block two, three, or four shots — so what’s the thing to do? Don’t block shots, stop fouling them, because the blocked shots are never as important as the fouls are.”

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