Women’s basketball team looks past pre-season expectations

Jan. 27, 2014

Ryan Adams
radams3@uccs.edu

With a spotty record this season, the women’s basketball team has had a tough time living up to their No. 1 preseason conference ranking.

Despite sitting at 5-10 (4-7 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) entering the games on the weekend of Jan. 24, the team is far from giving up.

“It’s been a challenging season for lots of reasons,” said Head Coach Corey Laster. “We have had a lot of different personnel come in and play as a result of injuries, the league [RMAC] is better, teams are deeper, and it’s proven to be a challenge.”

Starting the regular season on Nov. 15, the team has experienced its share of close losses. Seven of the ten losses have been in the single digits.

“We’re trying to find that hump to get over and hope to be that hot team down the stretch,” said Laster. “Losing [sophomore] Tori Fisher and [freshman] Anna Hubbell to injuries hurt us early on and we got off to a slow start.”

“With all that’s happened to us though, I still think we’re talented enough to cause problems for other teams.”

Of the next seven games, starting on Jan. 24, the Mountain Lions play five in Colorado Springs; one being the Downtown Classic. The Downtown Classic, in its second year, will be played Feb. 8 in the newly renovated Colorado Springs City Auditorium against RMAC rival CSU-Pueblo.

Junior Abby Kirchoff, who has become the eighth athlete in Mountain Lion history to reach 1,000 points, believes the team can get hot by first getting heavy on offense.

“We’re stagnant at times,” she said. “Our offense needs to improve and that’s hard sometimes because not all the shots go our way. Yet, if we can get better at things like cuts, our speed, and defense, it will definitely get better.”

Senior and team captain Jeri Pikul also believes the team can improve in several key areas.

“Our biggest weaknesses right now are having consistent post play, rebounding and our transition play,” she said. “We’ve yet to play our best basketball though so I think if we can dig ourselves out of this hole, we will have a good outlook.”

When asked if the No. 1 pre-season rank may be affecting their play, Laster didn’t appear to think so.

“It doesn’t mean much to us,” he said. “If you look at the pre-season rankings for the first, second, third, fourth and fifth spot, they are all different now that we are well into the season. We just have to learn to win from the front, show up, and play.”

With nine games remaining on the schedule, both Pikul and Laster agreed that every game is important.

“Every game matters from here on out,” said Pikul. “I’m really looking forward to playing much better and much more together as a team too.”

“All of our games are big because there are only a couple of games separating us from being in the playoffs,” said Laster. “We have a lot of pride as a team, we’ve been in every game as a team and will bounce back.”