Opinion: UWS women’s basketball

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!

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