If Rhyne Howard has been the five-star general of the ‘Cats this season, then Chasity Patterson has been second-in-command. As great as Patterson has been, Coach Elzy is expecting more from the 5-foot-5 guard heading into the postseason.
Patterson averaged 12.8 points per game this season, which was second-most on the team. However, Patterson failed to meet her scoring average throughout both games of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. For the ‘Cats to find success this time around, Patterson cannot allow history to repeat itself.
In a press conference on Friday, Patterson spoke about shouldering a greater load of the offense.
“For me personally, I’m going to be aggressive and I’m going to be looking for shots and not passing up shots,” Patterson said. “I definitely feel like I have a role in scoring.”
It’s a good thing Patterson feels this way because not only does she have a role in scoring, but a responsibility. Other than Howard, Patterson is the only player on the team averaging double-digits in the points column.
On the flip side, Idaho State has four players averaging double-digits. Basically five, when considering their fifth leading scorer averages 9.6 points per game.
Coach Kyra Elzy knows her team will have to step up their scoring to win. She spoke on some specifics at the press conference on Friday.
“We have to have at least four people in double figures to make sure that we are efficient offensively,” Elzy said.
Easier said than done. The Wildcats have rarely had four players in double figures this season and even more rarely, done it without Patterson being one of the four. Elzy surely expects Patterson to help contribute to this newfound team goal, especially considering Patterson has played in the NCAA Tournament before.
Patterson has proven throughout her senior campaign she can be a serious scoring threat, but the regular season and tournament time are two different things. Patterson has experienced the intensity of March Madness once before, but it wasn’t in a Kentucky Uniform.
As a freshman at the University of Texas, Patterson averaged 1.3 points and six minutes per contest over the course of three tournament games. Although Patterson clearly wasn’t breaking any records, the experience of playing in such games will undoubtedly be to her advantage.
Despite the obvious differences between the regular and postseason, Patterson is doing her best to treat every game the same way. Furthermore, she’s encouraging her teammates to do the same.
“We are treating it as just another game. We are still going through film and the game plan,” Patterson said. “We are treating it like another game on the schedule.”
Patterson’s positive mindset will be nearly as vital to the team as her scoring ability. The senior guard will aim to meet and exceed Elzy’s expectations in her second run through the NCAA Tournament. Her first test will come against the Idaho State Bengals at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday.