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ISSUE 117 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/5/2003

Women still searching for win

By Julie Gunderson
Sports Editor

Friday, December 5, 2003

Four games into their young season, the Ole women’s basketball team is still looking for that elusive first victory. This rocky start, however, has done little to dampen the team’s morale. Saturday afternoon, when the Oles head onto the court at St. Mary’s, they’ll be focused on the future instead of dwelling on the past.

“We have the right mentality to turn things around,” Natalie Rigelman ’06 said. “All we need to do is play our game with intensity from start to finish and we’ll be able to get the job done.”

The Oles opened their season at the Luther Invitational Nov. 21, dropping their first game to the host team, 52-43, and then suffering a 74-44 blowout to Wartburg the next afternoon.

“We’ve had a couple of big losses,” Bekah Colbeth ’04 said. “I think it’s due to the lack of execution on the offensive end. Our defense has been keeping us in games, we just need to score.”

The team rebounded from their lopsided defeat against Wartburg when they played their first home game of the season against Central College Nov. 25. The Oles played a tight ball game but ended up dropping the contest, 79-73.

The Oles’ fourth loss came against MIAC opponent Concordia in a 71-48 defeat Saturday afternoon.

“We’ve had a rough start, but with the effort we’ve been putting in at practice, we’re confident that we’ll see some improvement soon,” Christine Schwichtenberg ’06 said.

The consensus among Ole players is that it is only a matter of time before the wins start to come.

“I see us improving as some of our younger players gain a little bit more experience and we begin to execute better,” Colbeth said.

Time will tell if the Oles are ready to take on the tough competition they’ll face in the MIAC this year.

“We can only get better from here,” Sarah McBroom ‘04 said. “We’ll improve a lot with a few more games.”

The Oles know that a long season awaits them, but they also know that with upcoming games against two of the top teams in the MIAC, Gustavus and Carleton, there may be no better time to prove to themselves and their skeptics that they can be a force in this year’s league.

After graduating three seniors – Mayme Cupkie, Sara Erickson and Liz Mundahl – this year’s Oles are still in the process of feeling out what this year’s squads weaknesses and strengths will be.

“We definitely miss the three seniors we graduated last year, but this years team has stepped it up with hustle and defense,” Schwichtenberg said.

The Oles understand that this year’s team is undersized compared to last year, but they have also found that their quickness on the perimeter can be a huge advantage for them.

“We’ve got players on this team that are ready to fill their [the graduated seniors’] shoes,” McBroom said. “We are a little smaller, but more athletic and quicker.”

With a strong and deep bench, the Oles are also able to play a fast-tempo game, pushing the ball upcourt and capitalizing on their quickness.

“We just need to keep playing tough defense and start making shots,” Kelly Sweeney said.

The Oles, sitting at 0-1 in the MIAC, will be looking to even their record in the conference when they tip off against St. Mary’s Saturday afternoon.

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