A different offense and defense plus a new assistant coach hasn't hindered the Indiana Northwest women's basketball team.
The RedHawks (7-2) rebounded from a loss to NAIA Division II St. Xavier and defeated No. 5 Marian on Saturday.
One of the unsung heroes is sophomore guard Grayce Roach, who hit four 3-pointers in the win over Marian. Coach Ryan Shelton said Roach sometimes gets overshadowed by All-American teammate Nicki Monahan, but the Hobart grad has been one of the reasons for the RedHawks' success.
"Grayce is one of the most dynamic guards in the nation," Shelton said. "She has a rare combination of speed, strength, with the ability to handle the ball and distribute like a point guard. (She's) capable of taking over a game with her ability to attack the basket and shoot from long distance."
Roach said with the loss of 6-foot Danielle Zandstra, first-year assistant coach Ken Markfull, who was an assistant at Hobart when Roach played for the Brickies, had the team running a "four out, one in (post)."
"It works because you can drive and then dish out," Roach said. "I like it as a guard, because it helps with me hitting someone on the outside or I could be on the perimeter and hit the open shot."
Roach is averaging 4.0 assists per game to go with her 11.7 points per game. She said the RedHawks are playing more man defense. The 2014-15 Association of Independent Institutions Freshman of the Year said she did not rest on her accolades.
"I am one who is always looking to get better and not be satisfied," Roach said. "Even when I was in high school, I knew I always had to work harder and try to make myself better. Being a co-captain, I have to be out there early (to practice) and lead."
Shelton said having the two running the show makes his guard tandem second to none in NAIA.
"Paired with Nicki (Monahan), together they make up one of the best backcourts in the country."
When Monahan, the other captain and the 2014-15 AII player of the year, missed a few games, it was Roach who stepped up.
"It was just my role to go out there and lead," Roach said. "We all knew we had to step it up and just work as a team like we have all year."
Calumet College off to a good start: The Calumet College men's basketball team suffered a 63-62 setback to Indiana Kokomo. It hosted NAIA No. 9 Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday. Both team were 3-0 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference's South Division.
"I told our guys from the beginning that this was going to be a process. We have a lot of new faces, and everyone is getting to know each other and learning how we go about things here at Calumet College," coach Ryan Sexson said. "Fortunately, they have all been extremely coachable and come in ready to work every day.
"You can see progress each day on both sides of the ball. Statistically, we have been pretty good defensively, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Offensively, they have done a nice job sharing the ball and making the extra pass."
Pumas looking to continue court success: The St. Joseph's College women's basketball team is off to its best start since the 2005-06 season.
The Pumas (5-2) open Great Lakes Valley Conference play by hosting NCAA Division II No. 7 Lewis on Thursday and Wisconsin-Parkside on Saturday. Coach Steve Harold said it is a good early season test for his team.
"We are playing with confidence right now, and we hope that can carry over because we do have two tough games to start the conference out with," Harold said. "We look forward to the challenge of playing both. I think if we can play well, it can continue to boost our confidence."
He said he has noticed the difference in his team after winning some close games.
"We are finding ways to win and when you do win a few, I think that is contagious. The players all buy in to what you are trying to do," Harold said. "Last year, we struggled with confidence and when you get down, sometimes you have a hard time finishing."
He said Kalea Parks, who was the conference's player of the week, and Crown Point grad Courtney Kvachkoff have shown leadership abilities.
"They are not vocal, but by going out and just doing what they have (to), that is leading by example," Harold said. "The whole team has played hard so far. One game does not make a season, but it is good to get off to a good start."
Wrestlers off to big meet: Calumet College's wrestling team will compete in the Little Five State Meet on Saturday at the University of Indianapolis.
Sophomore Tyler McCoy (174 pounds) and freshman Ben Norton (165) have been impressive in the first part of the season.