Sophomore slumps don’t apply here: Morrow’s breakout year

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by Hunter Hillygus, Sports Reporter

Coming off of an injury-plagued freshman season where she only appeared in 10 games, Noreen Morrow has transformed herself into one of the top post players in the IIAC.

Morrow’s goal offseason was simply to get back to where she was before she hurt her knee, but she has far surpassed those expectations.

Doing the simple things in the offseason, like shooting and running every day, to the not-so-simple things, like training for a half-marathon, the sophomore from Lake Park has put herself in her position because of her hard work.

“I run a lot, and I get in shape. I shoot almost every day, and I shoot a lot of free throws. Just the basics, you don’t have to do anything extravagant,” Morrow said.

Head coach Brian Niemuth noticed a difference in Morrow early this season, but he admits he didn’t expect this type of production.

“I wasn’t (expecting this type of season) to be honest, but she trained hard this summer by training for a half-marathon and got herself in better condition,” Niemuth said.

Morrow is the team’s leading scorer at almost 12 points per game, but you wouldn’t know it by talking to her.

She doesn’t think about scoring when she’s on the court.

She commits herself to the defensive end of the floor, taking care of the opposing teams big and rebounding every ball that comes her way at a team high rate of almost seven boards a game.

“My mindset during the game is to play defense and rebound. I never think about scoring because I know that you just get in your own head, and then you can’t do it,” Morrow said. “The main things you have to focus on is playing defense and your rebounding, and then your offense will come. When you have a great defense, everything just flows with it.”

For a player whose main focus on the floor isn’t getting buckets, Morrow is about as efficient as they come on the offensive end, shooting close to the 53 percent clip, good for fourth in the IIAC.

Using a rare blend of size, athleticism and gifted hands, the Storm’s sophomore centerpiece has proven time and time again that she can, in fact, get buckets.

“She’s moving a lot better now. She’s quicker,” Niemuth said. “The thing that she’s always had is great hands. She catches everything that’s thrown to her, but I think the ability to run the floor and show some athletic ability from end to end is what she’s gained the most.”

Simpson sits in sole possession of third place in the IIAC with a conference record of 6-4, a game behind Buena Vista and Loras for second and two games back of Luther for first, with just four games left. Despite that, Morrow wholeheartedly believes that her team can get back to where they belong, atop the IIAC standings.

“On any given night, anyone could have a great game, not just me,” Morrow said. “Mackenzie (Haupt) or Whitney (Van Wyk) could go off and drop 20 points. (Britney) Boland, Morgan (Mauro), Bos (Maddie Bosworth). Everyone has great nights. I have full faith in our team that we can win. We just have to play 40 minutes all together, and there’s not a team that we can’t compete against.”

Morrow has already established herself among not only the top post players in the conference, but a top player, period. And with the work ethic she has displayed in her short time here at Simpson, don’t be surprised if in the coming years, there isn’t a team in the conference that can compete with her.