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Pat Coyle remaining patient with young St. Peter's team during rebuilding process

For St. Peter's, it is a baptism by fire as coach Pat Coyle has to give players with little experience big minutes.

Pat Coyle looks on during St. Peter's game against Yale on Tuesday.
Pat Coyle looks on during St. Peter's game against Yale on Tuesday.
Photo by Ray Floriani.

Jersey City, NJ - The banners hang proudly in Yanitelli Center trumpheting a tradition of winning. Conference championships and post season play are celebrated.

Today, that is distant past - this is a program in rebuilding stage.

There are talented newcomers in the mix, no doubt . The situation necessitates them playing a generous number of minutes: three freshman are among the starters who Coach Pat Coyle puts out on the floor. Unfortunately, that also means that Coyle has to live with the errors of youth.

"Our young kids need experience," Coyle said after St. Peter's' 53-45 loss to Yale on Tuesday. "They are getting that experience and making mistakes."

She added, "Unfortunately we have upperclassmen who are making mistakes as well. Some of our veterans should be able to step up."

St. Peter's, now 1-14, had an opportunity to get this one. They were competitive for the duration. Yale made the late run, largely aided by a few key Tamara Simpson penetrations. Simpson took game scoring honors with 15 points.  The very things Coyle felt her club could control, they didn't.

St. Peter's had 27 turnovers (an alarmingly high 39% turnover rate). They also allowed Yale to extend crucial late game possessions by failing to box out and giving up second chance rebounds.

"Turnovers and missed assignments on boxing out," Coyle said. "Those are things you know you have to do. We just didn't do them which is very frustrating."

Yale did not pressure defensively. They played sound defense limiting St. Peter's to a 65 offensive efficiency while blocking 7 shots and getting 7 steals. As much as Yale's defense deserves credit. The bottom line was a number of St. Peter's turnovers fall into the unforced error category.

A good sign was the St. Peter's bench, outscoring Yale 22-13. The leading scorer for St. Peter's was Antonia Smith, a senior guard, who produced her 13 boards in a relief role.

Yale, now 6-8, did show offensive balance. Four players were in double figure scoring for coach Chris Gobrecht. For Coyle, as much as she could credit Yale for the victory, it was a case of what her St. peter's team did not do that came back to haunt her.

Through it all, a season of trial and error and a lot of patient teaching, Coyle is pleased with the mind set of her group.

"The kids have been great," she said. "Their attitudes are positive and they come to work and practice hard every day. They have been great to work with."