Women’s basketball still finding its niche as wins keep stacking
By Shawn Gakhal
Coming off a university best record of 28-7 and a championship title last year, the expectations of greatness couldn’t be higher for this season’s Lakers women’s basketball team.
The group has bolted off to a quick, 5-0 start led by senior all-American shooting guard Casey Davis, and sophomore point guard and team captain, Becky Williford.
Robyn Scherr-Wells, the head coach of the team, talked about the high expectations placed on the team.
“I thrive on those expectations,” she said. “I mean, I always put them on myself anyways, and I think our players are thriving on it, too. We talk about having the balance, where you just have to focus on our own goals as a team and not worry so much about outside expectations. … The great thing about our team is that we are a deep team and have a lot of weapons.”
And those weapons were clearly on display last Tuesday against Clarke University in Iowa.
Down by more than 18 in the first half and 15 in the second half, the Lakers rallied from behind highlighted by Davis’ career high 33 points and Williford’s 17 points and six assists in a 95-82 victory.
Williford spoke about the slow start against Clarke University.
“We just had a slow start, but we came out in the second half very strong,” she said. “And we just picked each other up. Once we played together, we saw the results at the end.”
Davis spoke of the early foul trouble as a sort of a catalyst that, eventually, propelled the Lakers to victory.
“I think in the first half what triggered us was the fouls that we all got early. … We all realized that we had to pick it up. … We came back strong and finally knocked some shots down,” she said.
Davis also chatted about shouldering the responsibility of scoring, once one of her teammates fouled out.
“I feel like when Maria Tamburrino got into foul trouble and fouled out … since she’s one of our key players, I knew somebody had to step up,” Davis said. “I felt like I had to play way better than I did in the first half.”
Williford further spoke in length about feeding the hot hand on a given night, when a teammate is in the zone — like when Davis had it going against Clarke.
“There’s definitely a balance between it,” Williford said. “I’ll score when I need to, but I know how people play. I know Casey can take it to the hoop, and it’s all about knowing the game of your other teammates. … If Casey or Maria is on fire, we know to get them the ball and basically play off of them.”
Williford talked about the motivation to get up for every game, regardless of the opponent.
“We just need to take it game by game,” Williford said. “Treat every game like it is our championship game, and we can’t take any of our opponents for granted, because college basketball is a game of runs. … We have to be prepared every single game.”
Fresh off of coaching the Lakers to their best record in history and a championship title to boot, Scherr-Wells reaffirmed her goal of trying to win a championship every year.
“We feel like, as a program — with [a championship] being our goal — every year we’re competing for a conference title,” Scherr-Wells said. “When you win your conference, you get an automatic bid to the national tournament. … We, as a team, break down that goal into smaller segments, but that is a program goal that won’t change from year to year.”