After finishing the longest road trip in school history, the women’s basketball team returned home and to the top of the Iowa Conference.
The Storm climbed into a first place tie with Wartburg and Luther by winning two home games Friday and Saturday against Loras and Dubuque.
“We showed a lot of improvement,” said junior Amy Van Pelt. “We started running the ball better and we picked up the defensive intensity.”
Simpson started off slow against Loras before going on an 18-5 run in the second half and winning 94-68. Senior Michelle Stover led the way by shooting 9-12 from the field and scoring 20 points. Stover also grabbed seven rebounds and had four steals.
Juniors Amanda Pilcher and Sara Sonderman came off the bench to add a boost. Sonderman scored 18 points and tied the school record for highest three-point percentage in a game (100 percent) by going 4-4 from behind the arc. Pilcher scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds and had three steals in only her third career varsity game.
“We are working on getting combinations together and finding out who works well together,” said junior Annika Gustafson. “We are very interchangeable and we are trying to see who compliments each other well.”
The Storm defeated Dubuque the next night 88-74, extending their home winning streak to seven games. Junior Tiffany Whitsell had 14 points to lead all Simpson starters.
Gustafson, Pilcher, Sonderman and Van Pelt all contributed heavily off the bench. They combined for 42 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists. Gustafson also added five blocks and Van Pelt had three steals.
“We have different people stepping up,” said Van Pelt. “There is always someone there picking it up for someone else. That comes from our depth.”
Other than trying to figure out which players work well together, the women feel that there isn’t too much more to work on. The one thing they know they need to improve on though is playing hard for the entire game.
“We haven’t played a complete 40 minute game,” said Gustafson. “There is always some kind of let down. We may have an awesome first half but have a let down in the second half or vice versa.”
But they are working on getting things fixed in this area and trying to find ways to get more prepared for their games.
“We are going to try to be more mentally prepared and have a killer instinct knowing that we need to play 40 minutes of basketball,” said Van Pelt.