Women’s basketball shares IIAC crown

by Nicole Dillenburg & Lexie Hagerty

The Storm was neck-and-neck against Cornell throughout the majority of the game, but eventually pulled away and won 80-64 on senior day.

With the victory, the Storm received a share of the conference title alongside Coe. This title is the fourth-straight for Simpson as well as the 10th in program history.

Seniors Amy Hamilton and Darrina Bledsoe led the team with nine points each. Hamilton has a total of 234 three-point shots, being only two three-pointers away from tying the school record in a career with Carlie (Beals) Hajduch.

“The game was a little bittersweet because it was the seniors last regular season game, but it was great to get the win and be conference champs,” Hamilton said.

Even though there were more distractions than usual with both senior day and Pink Zone, the Storm still managed to stay strong and pull through with the win.  

“We just concentrated on the game and what we needed to do to win,” said Brian Niemuth, head women’s basketball coach.

This makes it senior Jeni Hegstrom and Hamilton’s fourth time being conference champions with the Storm.

“It helps that we have several players who have been through this before and know what to expect,” said Niemuth.

With this type of history, the Storm has a lot to live up to each year.

“I expect to win the conference tournament and advance to the NCAA tourney,” said Niemuth.

The Storm are seeded No. 2 for this weeks upcoming conference tournament.

Wednesday, Feb. 16

Earlier in the week, junior center Stacey Schutjer led the Storm (19-5, 13-2) with 22 points and four blocked shots in the 92-75 win over Buena Vista Wednesday night. Sophomore forward Kate Nielsen followed with 16 points and nine rebounds.

The Storm started slow in the first half, trailing the Beavers by seven until getting within two points at the 10-minute mark. The Storm took the lead for the remainder of the game.

Niemuth and Schutjer said improvement in defense will be the key to the team’s future success.

“We really focused on identifying the shooter and our defense tonight,” Schutjer said. “Those are what we struggled with in our past couple of games. It’s nice to know that even though we won, there is room for improvement.”

Senior guard Amy Hamilton shot 51 percent, scoring 11 points for the Storm. She is 20 points short of being the 13th female athlete in Simpson’s 1,000-point club.

Hamilton said she is only focusing on the team’s success right now, not the records.

“I try to focus on working my hardest and giving it everything I have because every game right now is extremely important for the team,” Hamilton said. “I go into games with a lot of confidence in our team because I know we have so many great players and if we focus on doing things right, we will get the job done.”

The Storm face off tonight against University of Dubuque in Cowles Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. to start of their IIAC Tournament competition.