By ANDY WOLF
Not so long ago, the University of Findlay men and women’s basketball teams went into Columbus and delivered Ohio Dominican two lopsided losses.
Nearly three weeks, 20 days to be exact, have passed.
The Oiler men used a dominant second half to prevail 90-62 while the women controlled the entire game for a 85-72 win.
Both teams will do battle again today with the men tipping at 6 p.m. and the women following at 8 p.m. at Croy Gymnasium for the first Great Midwest Athletic Conference games of the new year.
“We had a really good defensive effort the first time we played them,” UF men’s basketball coach Charlie Ernst said. “And I thought we executed our offense, especially in the second half, as well as we have all year.”
Both games epitomized just how good either UF team could be and have been so far this season.
The men’s team is riding a 10-game winning streak, while the women’s is at 11.
The No. 23-ranked men’s team (12-2, 7-0 GMAC) reentered the top 25 last week after a four-week hiatus.
The women (11-1, 8-0), are on the cusp. They’ve received 24 points in the coaches poll.
The strong starts have directly correlated from an abundance of experience.
Perhaps ODU is one of the few GMAC men’s teams that measures up with UF in that aspect.
Both start four seniors with 546 combined starts between the eight of them, each with at least 40.
“The thing with Dominican is they’ve got a lot of veterans,” Ernst said. “And they’ve come to Findlay the last couple years and played well.”
The familiarity is high.
Yet even in round one this year, Ernst still came away learning a few things about ODU.
“I learned they’re not very comfortable against our pressure without their point guard on their floor,” Ernst said. “When they went to their backup guards, they were very cautious offensively.”
The Panthers (7-6, 2-4) possess an athletically dynamic backcourt in Shamar Waugh (11.9 ppg) and Ronnie Williams (12.7 ppg).
Both started strong in the first half but were nonexistent in the second half — combining for 1 of 9 overall, 0 for 6 from 3. Williams went scoreless and Waugh scored only four points.
ODU senior and Liberty-Benton grad Adam Cytlak (6.0 ppg) will start his 82nd career game in black and gold.
Sophomore and 6-foot-6 forward Hassan Varence leads ODU at 13.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
He’s averaging 17.2 points in has last four games but the Panthers stumbled in all three conference games in that span.
For UF, Martyce Kimbrough (18.1 ppg) is equally heating up.
The 6-1 deep threat has bettered his current season average in his last five games without resorting to volume. He’s 19 of 42 from downtown since the ODU Game.
“He’s been shooting the ball better,” Ernst said. “He’s also passing the ball better. He’s been finishing it better. He’s been doing a better job of finding other ways and not relying on his jumpshot.”
As Kimbrough has been to the men’s team, senior Lynsey Englebrecht is that and more for the women.
She’s coming off, arguably, the best shooting performance of her career — one straight into the UF record books — and the hottest thus far in an already remarkable season.
Englebrecht sank 8 of 9 3-pointers in an 89-59 GMAC win over Davis & Elkins to set a new single-game mark.
Nobody in Division II with at least 40 made threes has a better percentage than Englebrecht (40 of 84, 47.6 percent).
Yet she’s just one piece of a highly-productive UF offensive unit scoring 78.8 ppg.
Junior forward Anna Hintz leads at 18.8 ppg and senior Haley Horstman adds 14.2. Juniors Jenna Stegmaier and Elissa Ellerbrock (Ottawa-Glandorf) each round out the starting lineup with a scoring punch of 7.8 and 7.5 ppg.
The Oilers led wire-to-wire in dealing the Panthers (9-3, 5-1) their only GMAC loss thus far.
ODU has a trio of double-digit scorers in Sarah Futscher (12.5), Megan Eyre (11.6) and Alexa Fisher (11.4).
Basketball: Oilers host ODU
By ANDY WOLF