I can understand why a lot of people find women’s basketball less enjoyable to watch than men’s basketball. Women are less athletic. The game is less physical for women. They play at slower pace. It’s boring, right?
That’s not the case this year for the women’s team here at UWS. The lady YellowJackets are currently enjoying their best season in school history, despite coming off an overtime loss at No. 15 ranked UW-Stevens Point. They managed to win both games this past week, including coming back from down 17 points in the first half against UW-Oshkosh and winning the game, 66-58. The YellowJackets are 18-4 and in second place in the WIAC, holding a conference record of 10-3.
After losing two senior post-players, Hailey Hart and Bri Davis, due to graduation, a lot of people thought the YellowJackets would struggle to score and defend inside. That’s far from the truth. Head coach Don Mulhern has been blessed with a few things every coach needs for his team to be successful: depth, versatility, and cohesiveness.
Being part of the men’s team, I would know. Spending road trips with these girls, I can see they all get along and have one common goal. Seniors Connie Urmanski and Kailee McDonald have dealt with a lot of losing in their time at UWS, but you could say they are reaping the rewards of hard work in their last season. The return of Sally Linzmeier, Kristen Nett, and Britnee Blake from injury, gave Mulhern a plethora of guards to choose from when he needs it. The emergence of a quiet senior, Hillary Peterson, has probably been the biggest surprise. A tall, shot-blocking, post-player, who didn’t get much playing time because she was behind Hart and Davis in her first three years. In her first year as a full-time player, she is making the most of it.
This team can go ten players deep and almost every player is inter-changeable and can play multiple positions. With only one “true” post (Peterson), Mulhern and the YellowJackets rely on high-pressure defense to rattle their opponents, and it works. They have forced 410 turnovers in 20 games this season, an average of 20.5 turnovers per game.
This season, they have split with Stevens Point, the team projected to win the conference (1-1), beat Whitewater, and swept Eau Claire (2-0), recording their first win over them in 25 years. But the season isn’t over. They still have three games left, and all will take place on the road. However, there is a great possibility that they will host a home-playoff game. So, stay up-to-date!
Time to bring it home, ladies!