Hard work pays off for DSU senior
Elise Daughton has dusted off her old knee pads. Last weekend was the first time she wore them since her freshman year at Victor Valley Community College in California. Putting them on only cranked up her attitude. "I won't get bullied again," Da...
Elise Daughton has dusted off her old knee pads.
Last weekend was the first time she wore them since her freshman year at Victor Valley Community College in California. Putting them on only cranked up her attitude.
"I won't get bullied again," Daughton said.
After a few too many knee bumps from two seasons of working her tail off beneath the boards, the Dickinson State senior is making sure she has the upper hand when the Blue Hawks begin a pivotal weekend against Jamestown College at 5:30 p.m. today at Scott Gymnasium.
Daughton has literally worked her way back into the Blue Hawks' starting lineup thanks to her tenacity in the paint on both ends.
"Elise is the perfect definition of hard work," DSU coach Guy Fridley said. "You don't see many people of her athletic caliber just go find the ball when the ball comes off the rim. She's got an eye for that, that's her knack. But she's a true champion in terms of hustling."
Hard work has helped Daughton earn playing time in the past, and it's the reason Fridley has turned to her once again.
"There's this thing where the harder you work, the luckier you get. I think that's it," Daughton said. "I try to work really hard during practice, but you can't specifically teach yourself to rebound."
Whatever she is doing, it seems to work.
But, at 5-foot-9, it's often a hit-or-miss affair. Daughton said she notices when teams are gunning for her under the basket.
"Some teams will really emphasize boxing me out and that'll be after a nine or 10 game," Daughton said. "Other teams don't matchup at all."
Daughton is averaging just 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds a game this season. But she's on an upswing lately, having led the Blue Hawks in rebounding their last two games. Offensively, she's streaky, but has led the team in scoring three times this season.
"She's came a long way in terms of just having more confidence on the offensive end," Fridley said. "Last year, I thought she was more looking at the defender than the rim. This year, she's not worried about what the defender does."
Defense is Daughton's main priority though.
This weekend, she'll match up against Jamestown junior Guili Varriano.
The first time the Blue Hawks played Jamestown, Varriano put up 19 points as Daughton tried desperately to keep up.
"Obviously that won't happen again," Daughton said. "She won't get her average."
The 5-foot-9 forward is the Blue Hawks' best bet at holding down Varriano, the Dakota Athletic Conference's leading scorer.
"You'll see on Friday that her focus is going to be on one thing and that's to stop their leading scorer," Fridley said. "I don't want to use the word stopper. ... You're not going to stop a team's best player. But at least hold her down and make her shots tougher than we made them when we were out in Jamestown."
Daughton wouldn't mind forgetting the team's first meeting on Jan. 19 all together.
That night, Daughton not only gave up a game high in scoring to Varriano. She also missed the only two shots she attempted and had zeros across the board for the first time during her two years at DSU.
"I got bullied, I really did," Daughton said. "Obviously, that won't happen again."