Consistency to remain focus for women’s basketball

Consistency to remain focus for womens basketball

by Kristin SimpsonStaff Writer

As the women’s basketball team gets into the swing of things with the start of the second semester, the team is also working on getting into the swing of things on the court.

“We are still trying to become consistent and learning to play hard all the time,” Head Coach Brian Niemuth said.

That is exactly what both the junior varsity and varsity teams worked on over Christmas break. According to Nicci Whalen, assistant varsity coach and head junior varsity coach, the hard work over break is beginning to pay off for the junior varsity team.

“Since Christmas, we’ve ran the ball extremely well,” Whalen said. “We usually wear the other team down so they can’t keep up the second half. We just have to get the ball up and down the court.”

Although the women have things to work on, Niemuth also believes that they have some strengths.

“They play well together and have a lot of team chemistry,” Niemuth said.

Niemuth also thinks the team has size and depth over some other teams. With 21 players total, the team is dominated by freshmen and sophomores. Upperclassmen are outnumbered four to 17. Tessa Van Oosbree is the team’s only senior.

“First semester was rough as it always is, but the freshmen are definitely catching on now quite well,” Whalen said.

Niemuth also thinks that the newcomers are making improvements in learning how Simpson’s women’s basketball team plays the game.

The team’s biggest win of the spring semester so far was against Coe College on Jan. 17. Simpson won the game by 28 points, 81-53. Prior to the game, Niemuth thought that Simpson’s advantage in size and depth would be useful if they could match Coe’s energy level. He also said that Coe was a team that “played hard and disciplined.”

“I think if we can learn how to play hard for 40 minutes, we can be a great team,” Niemuth said.

Junior Guard Carlie Beals agrees. There are some improvements the team hopes to make in the second half of the season.

“We need to learn how to put 40 minutes together in a game,” Beals said.

Beals believes that the girls on the team have made progress in learning their own roles and ways of contributing since the start of the new semester.

“We’ve had a couple of bumps along the way, but every team has a loss,” Beals said. “We’re doing well working together as a team.”

According to the statistics, Beals is correct. Out of a total of 17 games played so far, the Storm has only lost three. And only two of those losses, one to Buena Vista University and one to Luther College, were Iowa Conference games.

Buena Vista defeated Simpson in Storm Lake Jan. 3 with a score of 84-79. Luther was able to pull away with an even larger home court advantage, totaling 66 points to Simpson’s 42 on Jan. 12. The Storm will host a rematch with both teams, Luther on Jan. 27 and Buena Vista on Feb. 6.

Despite these two losses on the road, Simpson can hold its ground at home games. The women defeated Wartburg, 69-46, on Jan. 9. They also beat Cornell on Jan. 20, scoring 62 points to Cornell’s 49.

The Storm will meet the Dutch on the court on Jan. 26, for the second time this month. The last match-up, Simpson defeated Central as they did in Pella, 78-69.