Women’s basketball notebook: Grizzlies get first look at freshmen backcourt, Carnago’s return

Unlike last season’s exhibition game against Western Ontario in which she suffered a season-ending ACL injury, junior Brittany Carnago made her presence felt against the Mustangs this time around in the team’s Oct. 29 60-50 win.

Carnago had 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting – including a perfect 5-for-5 in the first half – to go with five assists, four rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Despite the strong showing in her first game back from injury, Carnago was quick to deflect praise.

“It just kind of happened. All of my points came from my teammates,” Carnago said. “If they hadn’t been feeding me such great passes, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. It’s the same with my assists — every time I was passing the ball out, everyone was knocking it down, so really, I need to thank my teammates for that.”

Also of note was the versatility in Oakland’s backcourt.

Sophomore Victoria Lipscomb had a solid game on both sides of the ball with 11 points, six rebounds, and a leaping block on an attempted three-pointer by Western Ontario with five and a half minutes left in the second half.

“The defensive play is something that we focus on in practice,” Lipscomb said. “Coach (Beckie Francis) always tells us that the point guard defense is the most important part of getting our defense going, so my goal as a guard defender is just hustling and make as many plays as I can.”

Guard defense played a prominent role in the team’s victory, as the position accounted for two of the team’s four blocks and five of the team’s 10 steals.

Factoring into the final decision were freshmen guards Malika Glover and Zakiya Minifee.

Getting the start at guard, Minifee had five points to go along with two steals and one block. Glover had eight points, three rebounds, and two assists.

Junior Sharise Calhoun, who tallied eight points and four assists, saw plenty of positives from the two freshmen in their first ever college game.

“They are two great players,” Calhoun said. “They both play with so much passion and I think for their first game, they played awesome. I’m really looking forward to playing with them this season. As much as I can mentor the younger girls, I’m going to try. I know that I learn a lot of new things from them – we help each other out – and that’s one thing I love about this team.”

Twelve of the team’s 13 players saw varied court time in the exhibition, as Francis was mixing up lineups throughout the game.

“We have some work to do. I was messing with some rotations and I think it was obviously sloppy at times, because there’s still no chemistry,” Francis said. “We’re still working on substitutions and our depth chart, so it showed a little bit, but I know what we need to work on now.”