Team finds groove heading into the new year


by Erin Guzman

The Storm is taking over the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) women’s basketball competition, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up.

The Storm are currently sporting a 6-0 IIAC record and 12-3 for the overall season. After an impressive showing at the Grand Canyon Classic tournament in Phoenix over the holidays, the Storm shows no sign of slowing down their conference dominance.

“Our goal is not just to win, it’s to get better,” head coach Brian Niemuth said. “We have the talent. Our first three losses were in our first four games. Since then we’ve had 11 straight wins.”

In tournament play, the Storm shot nearly 50 percent from the field, including 18 3-pointers across two games. The Storm picked up tournament wins against University of Dallas (1-6) in an 80-46 showing, and versus Ohio Northern (10-2) topping the Polar Bears, 90-67. Both wins allowed the Storm to claim the tournament championship, supporting its already successful season record.

Senior Darrina Bledsoe said that the women’s team is beginning to understand what it means to be a team and continue its success.

“I would have to say that now we have a better understanding that we are a team capable of anything,” Bledsoe said. “The tourney exposed that we are a talented group of women but still have much to improve on.”

Niemuth saw much promise in the women’s team on this trip because of their continuity both on and off the court.

“We played well because we had so many players (contributing),” Niemuth said. “We’ve had many players step up. I really saw on this trip how well the group interacts with each other. They have fun together, but also know how to get focused really quickly. It was a great experience.”

With six players scoring in the double digits at the Grand Canyon Classic, Simpson has proved itself to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to scoring in the IIAC.

According to the IIAC website, Simpson leads the conference in wins with followed by Wartburg and Coe.

The Storm faced off against Central last Wednesday in Cowles Fieldhouse, and claimed a victory against its Dutch rival, 106-58.

Senior Jeni Hegstrom and sophomores Jamie Elbert and Kate Nielson each contributed 11 points against Central.

“I’m a firm believer in teams either getting better or getting worse, and I want to make sure that we get better,” Niemuth said.

The Storm’s next home games are on Wednesday, Jan. 19 against Wartburg at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 22 versus Luther at 2 p.m..

“It’s always fun to play against rival teams, especially if it’s a home game,” Bledsoe said. “I was happy to see how many people came out to watch and support. Each player had the opportunity to compete, which is really important, even against rivals.”