However, the Lady Skins found a good way to win their season opener: Play a team that's even more inexperienced.
Cumberland capitalized on Lynn Camp's 32 turnovers and claimed a 48-26 victory in the first game of the Lady Skins Tipoff Tournament on Thursday.
“I was pleased with the effort they gave us on the defensive end,” Cumberland coach John Bond said. “That's the main thing I'm after right now - that, and rebounding. We played pretty good on the ball defense, but we're not sliding off and helping.”
“Turnovers and missed free throws (hurt us),” Lynn Camp coach Richard Jones said. “They really weren't forced turnovers - we'd just dribble in front of them and let them take it, or walk. But I knew coming in that we're dealing with a lot of young kids, and we'll get better and better. I know Cumberland's young, too, but they're young and big, and we're young and small.”
Thursday's game highlighted both positives and negatives for the Lady Skins. Cumberland shot a respectable 47 percent (23-for-49) from the floor and outrebounded the Lady Cats, albeit by a surprisingly slim margin (31-29). But the Lady Skins struggled at the free throw line, hitting just one of nine attempts, and committed 20 turnovers.
“The fourth quarter, they kind of took control of the boards,” Jones said. “But for three quarters, I have to give my girls an ‘A' in that category.”
“Richard does a good job coaching fundamentals,” Cumberland coach John Bond said. “They're fundamentally sound on both ends of the floor, and they play hard.”
Senior center Erika Letanosky led Cumberland (1-0) with 12 points and eight rebounds. Junior Stephanie Whitt scored nine points, including seven in the second half, and grabbed seven boards.
“I thought once (Whitt) got settled down, she played well on the boards,” Bond said. “She played within herself and let the shots come to her.”
The Lady Cats are in rebuilding mode following the loss of the school's all-time leading scorer, Mandy Smith, to graduation. Lynn Camp (0-1) shot a woeful 20 percent (5-for-25) from the floor Thursday.
Lynn Camp took a 2-0 lead on a basket by Christie Helton, then went without another field goal for more than five minutes as the Lady Skins rolled out to a 10-3 advantage. Cumberland's run included four points each by Letanosky and Heather Maggard, a freshman forward who was playing in her first varsity game.
The Lady Skins stayed comfortably ahead throughout the first half despite increasing their turnover total from one in the first quarter to six in the second. The Lady Cats scored the first three points of the second period, but Cumberland answered with an 8-0 run and later closed the half with a 6-0 spurt.
Despite having only 11 players available, foul trouble forced Bond to go to his reserves often, with most of the players seeing significant minutes. Lynn Camp went to the line 31 times, hitting 15 attempts.
“They penetrate well and put you in fouling situations,” Bond said. “And they generally shoot free throws well.”
Both teams drew a technical foul in the fourth quarter, including one on Cumberland for having six players on the floor.
Senior guard Whitney Myers led the Lady Cats with seven points.
The round-robin tournament continues tonight, with Lynn Camp facing June Buchanan at 6, followed by Cumberland and Pineville at 7:30.
The Pineville Lady Lions slipped past June Buchanan 49-47 in Thursday's nightcap.
Genia Partin led Pineville (2-0) with 15 points, and Ashley Madon added 14.
June Buchanan (0-2) was led by Cody Centers and Sheena Stone with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Pineville (49) - Genia Partin 15, Ashley Madon 14, Leslie Howard 10, Brittany Smith 6, Blair Combs 2, Victoria Gilley 2.
June Buchanan (47) - Cody Centers 12, Sheena Stone 11, Kayla Short 10, Maris Hobee 8, Meredith Bentley 4, Keisha Short 2.