Storm women’s basketball bounces back after loss to Wartburg


by Matt Lash, Sports Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — After opening 2018 with two big wins against IIAC opponents, the Storm women’s basketball team fell on the road to Coe and at home against undefeated Wartburg.

Currently, the Storm (11-6, 5-3) sit in third place in the conference, behind only Wartburg (16-0, 7-0) and Luther (12-7, 6-2). With the remaining games against only IIAC opponents, the Storm will look to stay in the hunt for a high seed in the postseason conference tournament.

While most students were relaxing at home, eating too much and spending time with family, the Storm were in the gym. Practicing and playing games in January may seem like a drag, but these athletes are willing to put in the work to be successful.

“It’s a necessity,” head coach Brian Niemuth said. “I think they were excited to get back to their teammates and put in the work. This is a group that has worked outside of practice as hard as any team I’ve coached.”

Not only did they come back early from winter break, they hosted two conference games against second seed Luther and ninth place Loras, winning both.

“They get what it takes to be successful and I’m thrilled with their work ethic,” Niemuth said.

Freshman Victoria Hazard has shown she has what it takes to make her presence known on the court. Pouring in a season-high 17 points against Wartburg last weekend, Hazard was able to drive and post up to create looks for herself.

“When it isn’t easy to score, I’ve been able to contribute to the team by creating shots for others when driving, and by assisting,” Hazard said.

Just 16 games into her first season, Niemuth has high expectations moving forward for Hazard.

“Tori brings a lot of things to the team,” Niemuth said. “I don’t think she’s even touched how good she can be offensively, and she knows that.”

Alongside Hazard, Noreen Morrow, a senior, is quickly approaching the 1,000-career points mark.

“Noreen hardly played as a freshman,” Niemuth said. “For her to still be able to reach 1,000-career points just shows how consistent she is.”

The Storm lost to Wartburg by 15, in part, because of 25 turnovers. There were definite upsides to the game. The Storm outrebounded the Knights, had more points in the paint and had a 19-9 advantage from bench players.

Ellen Gallagher, a senior, and Cameron Kincaid, a freshman, both saw substantial time on the court. Gallagher scored five points on 2-4 shooting in 15 minutes while Kincaid scored eight points on 2-4 shooting, going 4-4 at the free-throw line, in 21 minutes.

Halfway through conference play, the Storm sit at 5-3 and will head to Storm Lake on Saturday to take on Buena Vista.