Queens of the court: Girls get in the zone to hoop it up

For the women’s basketball team and Head Coach Brian Niemuth, the start of the 2007-2008 season is quickly approaching.

The Storm begin their season on November 16 against Northwestern College (Minn). Their game against Northwestern is the first game of a tournament held at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn.

The Storm women are coming off of a season in which they made it to the NCAA Sweet 16. Niemuth says the team is hoping to make it even further this season.

“With the girls having the experience of making it to the Sweet 16 last year and having of those girls back, we would like to go a little further this year,” Niemuth said.

Niemuth isn’t the only one with high hopes for this year’s team. Junior point guard Laura Montague says the team can make it further if they pick up where they left off at the end of last season.

“I think all of our players have very high expectations for our team as a whole,” Montague said. “We saw how well we could play towards the end of the season last year and that made us want to work extremely hard so we could make it even further this year.”

Simpson feels as though they have a good foundation since they are returning nearly every player from the team that made it to the round of 16 a year ago.

“We have three All-conference players that are returning this year: Ashley Katch, Carlie Beals and Katelyn Whiton,” Niemuth said. “We only lost one player to graduation.”

Along with a strong foundation of returning players, the team also took advantage of a summer league to help them improve and stay focused during the summer.

“In the summer the team did stuff on their own during the week days,” senior forward Katelyn Whiton said. “But on Sundays we played in a league against girls from Iowa State, Drake, Grandview and DMACC.”

Along with the summer league that most of the players participated in, the team was also expected to do workouts on their own during the summer.

“During the week we were expected to work out four days a week,” Whiton said. “This included lifting weights, shooting baskets and working on foot speed.”

The team agrees that in order to better last years results, they are going to have to face some pretty tough competition in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference along the way.

“I think top to bottom in the conference, if you’re not ready to play, anybody can beat anybody on a given night,” Niemuth said.

Although most of the players from last years team are returning, Niemuth says that in order to do as well or better than they did last year, they need to have a few things go their way.

“Realistically, a lot of things have to happen,” Niemuth said. “You need to stay healthy and you have to have a few breaks during the year. But I do think we have a chance to be pretty good.”