His and her hoops: Teams set their sights on nothin’ but net

by Kristin SimpsonStaff Writer

The women’s basketball team showed the nation what they can do in their early-season success.

The team remained undefeated throughout November, winning by a minimum of 24 points in every game played.

At the Buena Vista Classic on Nov. 24, the Storm scored the second most points in school history against Presentation College, with a score of 115-68. With 30 points during the classic, senior forward Katelyn Whiton moved into seventh place on Simpson’s all-time scoring chart, with a career total of 1,148 points.

According to Brian Niemuth, head women’s basketball coach, the main factors in the season’s success so far have been the depth of the squad and the returning experience.

Whiton, however, says the success is due to the team chemistry and the efforts made to get to really get to know each other. She also gives credit to the hard work the team put in during the preseason with Justin Snyder, head strength and conditioning coach.

“Everyone is just very excited about all the possibilities we can have,” Whiton said. “That makes everyone really want to be there and get better every day in practice.”

The Storm is ranked nationally in two polls. According to Whiton, after their 71-44 victory at Wartburg on Nov. 28, Simpson sits 11th in the nation. She says all the hype gets the team pumped up.

Junior forward Whitney Franker, however, says that the team tries to not get too caught up in all the hype by going out on the court and proving what they can do.

“We all know what the hype is but we all try to not focus on it,” Franker said. “It’s nice to know, but there are far more important things that we, as a team, need to focus on than the national rankings.”

The team’s reputation nationally increases the level of competitiveness in the conference, according to Whiton, because now they’re the team to beat.

“Everyone’s season would be made if they beat us,” Whiton said. “That means every night we have to go out and play that much harder.”

Adding to the level of competition, Niemuth thinks that the teams at the bottom of the conference have improved.

“This year is going to be a very competitive year,” Niemuth said. “Any team can beat anybody on any given night if you’re not ready to play.”

Last year, the Storm didn’t claim the conference championship but did make it to the “Sweet 16.” Niemuth says the team always wants to try and win the conference championship and would like to go a little farther than they did last year.