Clarksville, TN – When Austin Peay State University announced the hiring of David Midlick as the new women’s basketball coach this past week that was the easy part of trying to return the Lady Govs back to being a force in the OVC …now the hard work begins.
Midlick inherits a team that has several solid to outstanding parts, but also a team that struggled to play up to their talent levels over extended games or even minutes in a single game.One of the first things that needs to be addressed is the team’s overall defense, or lack thereof, with the Lady Govs ranking 330th out of 343 Division I teams in giving up 74.6 points per game last year – that’s the bottom four percent at the DI level.
Midlick seems perfect in that aspect.
As an associate head coach this past season at Memphis, the Tigers saw their opponents scoring average drop by five points a game.
This coming after a two-year stint as head coach at NCAA Division II Delta State where his squad led the country in holding opponents to just 53.3 points per game and 33.5 percent shooting from the floor and only 25 percent from behind the three-point arc.
Even before that, when Midlick was an assistant for two years (2010-12) under former Lady Govs head coach Carrie Daniels, the teams’ defense saw an eight-point decrease in opponent scoring per game.
A new prospective on defense to a squad that boasts the nation’s second-ranked player in Division I in steals (point guard Tiasha Gray) to go with a quartet of post players (Beth Rates, Tearra Banks, Brianne Alexander and Sydney Gooch) — that didn’t scratch the surface of their individual talents on the defensive end – could led to a big-time improvement in 2015-16 for the Lady Govs.
But it’s just not on the defensive end where Midlick’s new prospective could help.
Even though the Lady Govs ranked 53rd in the nation in points per game (70.3) all of the returning post players saw dips in their field-goal percentage – in some cases a big decrease.
But despite playing guard in college at Ole Miss, Midlick has had success working with post players too,
As an assistant for Austin Peay, former Lady Govs standout Jasmine Rayner – a 1000-point scorer in her career at APSU – had her best season (10.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg) during Midlick’s first year.
Add to that, as an assistant at Tennessee State coached posts Obiageli Okafor to 2010 first team All-OVC selection and Jasmine Smith to the OVC All-Newcomer team in 2009.
If Midlick has any success at recruiting over the next couple of seasons, along with a track record of a strong defense and being able to work with both guards and posts, the 2015-16 women’s basketball season could be a turning point in getting back to the top of the OVC for the Lady Govs.