No ‘I’ on this team

by Eli Taylor

The Simpson College women’s basketball team exhibits extraordinary balance on a rectangular wooden surface.

Just look at the statistics.

The team doesn’t have a single player who has averaged more than ten points a game. In fact, freshman Katelyn Whiton is the highest scorer, averaging 9.3 points a game.

The rest of the team’s averages range from almost nine to around a free throw a game. The team average is 73.5 points a game.

The problem for Simpson opponents is knowing who will lead the scoring on any given night.

“It’s our versatility that makes us so tough to beat,” junior Kara DeNoon said. “We’ve got a really strong starting five and a really strong bench.”

The women’s team is 14-4 overall and 7-2 in the Iowa Conference. Simpson also can boast an unbeaten record at home this year with a 6-0 record in Cowles Fieldhouse.

“It has a lot to do with our style of play and how many players see the court,” coach Brian Niemuth said.

“Every night, one or two girls will step up and play their hearts out,” DeNoon said. “It can be anybody.”

Realistically, it’s everyone. Take Simpson’s most recent game, a 63-50 win over Wartburg on Jan. 25. The team managed just 22 points from the starting five, but received 41 points from the bench. For opponents, it makes planning to face Simpson tough.

“It affects the way other people guard us,” senior Ashley Bogaards said. “There isn’t just one person to shut down, and it can cause some problems for our opponents.”

The team has witnessed six different team members take leading scoring honors this season, but no one can keep it going for more than a few games.

Bogaards scored 21 in a win at Webster University on Dec. 5. Later that month Whiton scored 33 in a win over California Lutheran.

When players have stepped up, things have been good for the team. But when no player scores double-digits, the team is vulnerable. Sophomore Ashley Hansen and Whiton were leading scorers with eight points apiece in a Jan. 14 loss at Luther.

“It just sort of happened [that we balanced out],” Niemuth said. “I would like to have a ‘go to’ player, but so far that hasn’t happened.”

For the three seniors this year the balance isn’t really a big issue.

“You never plan who is going to score where and when,” Bogaards said. “The seniors on the team just want to finish as strong as possible.”