Daniely thriving as Demons’ defensive stopper
GSPI Sports Editor
There’s no doubt Nikita Daniely has a presence when patrolling the paint during Glenwood Springs High School girls basketball games, particularly in the defensive end.
Because of that, Daniely typically draws the opponent’s top post player for her defensive assignment ” a role she relishes.
“I definitely enjoy being put in that position,” Daniely said. “Coach will tell me some girl scored 32 points in her last game and it puts me a a position to make sure she doesn’t score 32 against us.”
In part due to her solid defensive play, Daniely’s performance last week against the rival Rifle Bears earned her the Glenwood Springs Athlete of the Week honors.
Daniely scored eight points in the game, and also played a big role in keeping Rifle’s Krista Wagstrom scoreless in the first half.
Probably the biggest signal to just how important Daniely is to the Demons came when she left the game.
Daniely, who plays bigger than her 5-foot-10 listing due to a big wingspan and aggressive style, fouled out with just under 7 minutes left in the game and the Demons carrying a 30-24 advantage.
The Bears went on to outscore Glenwood 18-6 in the final frame and remain undefeated in the Class 4A Western Slope League.
If there is such a thing as a good loss, this was one of them. It proved to Daniely and her Demon teammates they could play with the league’s current top team.
“Basically, we’ve just got to maintain focus and play great defense against them,” Daniely said. “The Demon defense can definitely take it to Rifle all night, we’ve just got to finish it off on the offensive end.”
And that offensive end is where the senior would like to see her game develop more this season.
“I think I’d like to shoot more often and expand my range of shooting,” she said. “I just think I need to work harder at getting open and letting teammates know I’m open. Work harder on being seen.”
Daniely’s other personal goal for the season is to follow in the footsteps of Cassie Carlson, who won the league’s sportsmanship award as a senior last season.
Daniely admits “it gets heated in the game,” and even more so in the paint. Still, she said, “It’s a goal for me to at least be in the running (for the sportsmanship award).”
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