Team’s youth an obstacle
While forming a new squad, the women’s basketball team has experienced some growing pains. The team includes eight freshmen, two returning sophomores and three transfer players.
Because the team is young and unexperienced, the transition into this season has not been an easy one.
Following a 69-34 loss to No.3 ranked George Fox University, Linfield’s season record dropped to 2-12 and 3-20 overall. The loss to George Fox marked the ninth in a row next to a four-point home win against Lewis & Clark College.
Head coach Robyn Stewart realizes the season has been long, but the level of competition has been high for this season’s team.
“[George Fox] is big and athletic,” Stewart said. “One of the best George Fox teams I’ve seen since I’ve been here. Illinois Wesleyan, who we played right before Christmas, is currently number one in the country.”
Junior forward Nadra Evans, one of two transfers from Lower Columbia College in Longview, Wash., said the situation has been challenging, but the team has not let up one bit.
“It’s definitely been hard because [the transfers] came in new, too,” she said. “I think if we keep playing together, with our work ethic, good things will happen.”
The final women’s basketball games are at home Friday against Pacific Lutheran University and Feb. 21 against Pacific College. Both games begin at 6 p.m.
With sophomores forward Sarah Amina and point guard Stephanie Fennimore as the only returners from last year’s team, fundamentals have taken a back seat to building team cohesion. But huge strides have been made in that area, Evans said.
“I think the more we play together the better we can get,” Evans said.
Stewart said the team’s goal is to stick together, and she said that goal has been met. She said cohesion has been one of the best areas in which the team has progressed.
Team unity has not prevented the team from losing the majority of its games. Stewart said the close losses are the hardest to swallow as a team.
Evans, who leads the team in scoring with an average of 7.9 points per game, finds the losses frustrating because she has never been a part of a losing program.
Evans was quick to mention that the team has not been affected too much by the losses because it is eager to watch film and correct mistakes.
“We have a lot of competitive people on the team, and I think that really motivates us to get better,” Evans said.
Stewart also mentioned the members of the team do not want to let each other down.
“I think there’s a strong sense of pride,” Stewart said.