Storm women host Thanksgiving Classic, finish 1-1


by Matt Lash, Sports Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — With a big win over IIAC opponent Iowa Wesleyan and a tough loss against unbeaten Saint Benedict, the Simpson women’s basketball team has made major progress since last season. The Storm had a record of 1-4 at the end of November 2016. This season, the team already has three wins on the season with only two losses against them, both by just three points.

While the rest of campus was at home enjoying family and Thanksgiving feasts, the Storm was working to get better as a team with their competition in the Thanksgiving Classic, hosted in Cowles Fieldhouse on Nov. 24 and Nov. 25.

The small tournament helped the young Storm team discover who will make a consistent impact on the game and helped head coach Brian Niemuth see who’s going to take more of a role during the season.

“I’m really happy with how we played, but we’ve got to learn how to play forty minutes in a row,” Niemuth said. “We played hard for a solid thirty-six minutes this weekend, but I think those last four minutes in the fourth quarter are really what cost us the game against Saint Benedict.”

Ellen Gallagher and Noreen Morrow, both seniors, and Tori Hazard, a freshman, all earned all-tournament honors following their performance during the two-game split. Niemuth was pleased with the performance of all three, but was especially happy with how Hazard was able to make an impact early in her career.

“Tori is just a tremendous athlete and she fits into our style extremely well,” Niemuth said. “She’s capable of taking over a game, so that’s kind of a unique thing for a freshman.”

The team is young, but with its depth, the Storm expect to have opportunities for at least five players to contribute off the bench all season. With only four seniors and eight freshmen on the roster, the Storm’s youthfulness will make an impact on how the season plays out.

“I don’t like to set goals based on outcomes,” Niemuth said. “Everybody in the nation wants to win conference. I want to be as good as we can be, no matter the record.”

Averaging 12 points and eight rebounds through five games this season, Morrow was excited the team was able to play well all weekend, but hopes to see improvements moving forward.

“We wanted to come out with a lot of intensity and energy,” Morrow said. “We’re a young team right now and other teams aren’t expecting us to have the experience, so it’s really great to see all those underclassmen come in and jump in.”

Taking on Nebraska Wesleyan and the University of Dubuque in the first week of December, both away games for the Storm, the team looks to improve on its 3-2 record with big IIAC wins before a few weeks off for the holidays.