Key players shooting to breakout amid COVID-19 laced season


by Noah Sacco, KSTM Station Manager

In a much-anticipated arrival, Simpson women’s basketball began their 2020-2021 campaign with a non-conference win over Coe last Saturday.

The Storm held an impressive 49.2 percentage shooting clip from the field, and Cameron Kincaid led the charge with a career-high 26 points, a mark the senior hasn’t reached since Dec. 2018. The second-team all-conference forward also received A-R-C Athlete of the Week honors, the first of her career.

Yet, Kincaid’s focus looks past the accolades and towards the team’s performance against the Kohawks. 

I think there were definitely some first game nerves that we will definitely get past and clean up going forward,” Kincaid said. “With that being said, our team knows how to pressure others to force turnovers, and I think that was a key to our win.”

Kincaid isn’t the only one on track for an exciting, senior season. In addition to her all-conference honors last year, fifth-year senior forward Jenna Taylor is 42 points shy of collecting 1,000 career points in a Simpson jersey.

She would be the first to do it in a global pandemic.

If breaking 1,000 points is in the cards for me this season, I would be really grateful,” Taylor said. “A lot of hours with coaches and teammates have gone into the last four-and-a-half years, and I would feel incredibly lucky to break that mark with this team.”

As expected, COVID-19 protocols have found their way onto the court. Team benches are spread to six feet apart, masks are worn at required times, fan attendance is limited and the players and coaches are to be tested every week.

But team morale remains high in spite of the restrictions.

“I think after our first game, some of us actually enjoy the distanced benches as we could jump up and celebrate as much as we wanted,” Taylor said. “I think we have all taken the many changes in stride, and we just feel fortunate we get to have a season, whatever that may look like.”

Head coach Brian Niemuth returns for his 34th season with the program. The future hall-of-famer has amassed over 600 wins throughout his tenure and believes his team can rise above their third-place finish in the A-R-C coaches’ preseason poll.

“We have missed the conference tournament only once in its existence, and the key to advancing is believing you can and executing,” Niemuth said. “This group has the experience to do that, and we have a solid foundation to build on.”

Along with Kincaid and Taylor, the program brings back the guard pair of junior Kia Rasmussen and sophomore Cassie Nash. All were four of the top five scorers last season.

With so many unknowns, we’ll just take what we can get and have fun every opportunity we get to play,” Kincaid said. “As a senior, it has definitely taught me not to take advantage of any of these last moments with my team.” 

Following their first conference game and home opener against Nebraska Wesleyan on Jan. 27, the Storm hit the hardwood at Iowa Wesleyan on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m.