With her team muddled in a three-game losing skid, Debbiey Simmers of Anchorage wanted things to change. So she took over.
The Malone University senior guard poured in a season-high 29 points in an 89-77 win over Northwood. It was her highest point total at Malone in 34 games.
“We were moving the ball well as a team, which helped me to get open looks at the hoop,” she told me. “If I was open I shot the ball. I did not realize that I was in for a good night. I knew that we had to win that game because we had just lost three in a row.”
Simmers, a graduate of Anchorage Christian School, made 10-of-15 field goals and all six free throws. In fact, the 5-foot-9 guard hasn’t missed a foul shot this month [12 for 12]. Her scoring spree followed a slump during which she averaged just 9 points over her previous four games.
“We all brought a different mindset to the game,” Simmers said. “The three games we had just lost were due to bad defense, so we discussed as a team that we needed to approach the game with a prerogative of getting stops.
“We came out fired up because we had a disappointing loss two nights before. So I would say I approached the game with more focus on being a good defender. The focus (spilled) over to the offense as well. Once I started hitting some shots I definitely gained confidence and momentum.”
Simmers is averaging 13 points and 3.8 rebounds in eight games. She leads the team in free-throw shooting [88 percent].
Van Williams, a 20-year local sports writer and the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, writes about the athletic exploits of Alaskans for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at email@example.com.