All she needed to do was put it all together.
Babione poured in 11 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two assists and tonight against Rio Grande, she's cracking the starting lineup for No. 24 Shawnee State.
“I think it's just how hard she's playing,” Shawnee State coach Robin Hagen-Smith said. “She's just being so aggressive and going after plays. Her play has been inspiring.”
Part of Babione's first start of her career is her play of late, and some of it is Shawnee State's game plan for the Redwomen (7-3, 1-0).
Hagen-Smith said she plans to use more half-court zone and man-to-man and less pressure tonight.
Babione's shot blocking makes her a perfect fit in the middle of the zone against Rio Grande's talented post players.
“She's really good in that zone and I'm hoping she can block some shots early on and disrupt their post players,” Hagen-Smith said.
While Britney Walker leads the Redwomen in scoring, it's the play of Sarah Drabinski (13.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg), Candace Ferguson (11.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Erin Kume (4.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) that Hagen-Smith said the Bears will need to worry about.
“Their post players are really solid,” she said. “Drabinski was freshman of the year last year. She works hard and she hits the glass and she can score in a lot of different areas. She'll shoot 3s and shoot shots form the elbows and so will Candace Ferguson. Those two can mix it up. They're a lot like our post players.”
While Carlesha Chambers and Ka'Yanna Feaster bring a lot of speed at the point guard spot, and a combined 5.4 assists per game and Lauren Fox has made 26 3s, the Redwomen's guards will have a tough job stopping Shawnee State's guards.
“We have a lot of different guards that can shoot the 3 and with us, we're all shooting the 3,” Hagen-Smith said. “You have to be fearful of what we can do on the offensive end. Karen Diehl is going to be a tough matchup for them. I'm sure Drabinski will be on her, but I think Karen can give her some trouble. I'm hoping they haven't seen defense like we can put on them. It won't be easy. I like Rio's team.”
So far, it has been pretty easy for the Bears (6-2, 2-0 AMC). They have won their two conference games by 43 and 33 points.
Hagen-Smith said she doesn't expect tonight's game to be nearly as lopsided.
“They just have to make sure they don't get overconfident,” she said. “It's good to be confident, but there's a certain level they have to maintain. It's not always going to be that easy. I think that we are putting things in perspective.
We're hitting shots and playing good defense.”
Not only that, Shawnee State's depth has been a major factor in the two blowouts. And, as is proven by Babione's start, Hagen-Smith has confidence in any of her second five. Also, the players don't seem to care who starts.
“Before practice started, I had the four post players together and I told them we would start Becky (today) because we're going with the zone and she's been playing well,” Hagen-Smith said. “They were happy for Becky and whatever the starting role, they were fine with it. I thought, ‘Wow, what a great situation.' It just started off practice in a positive way.”
“They understand their roles and contribute to the puzzle. I think that, Becky is, whatever role she is in she can keep doing big things for us.”
Tip-off is tonight at 6 p.m.
JASON R. CRISLER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 242 or at email@example.com.