The women’s basketball team has been dominating the court for the past few games. The recent victory against the University of the Ozarks, with a score of 73-66, gave the UMHB women an 8-3 overall and 5-2 in American Southwest Conference.
This puts them even closer to winning the ASC conference tournament and the National Championship.
Junior sports management major and guard for the team Miranda Shorter said, “Our sights are set on the National Championship like with every season, but winning the west side will allow us to host the ASC conference tournament here at UMHB.”
Junior and wing Lauren Reece said, “Our main focus is to take one game at a time and not look too far into the future. Meeting our game goals will lead us to success of each individual game, which will lead us to the success of our season goal.”
This year, changes to the team include a different lineup with incoming freshmen and transfers. Most of the team’s leaders/seniors from last year have also graduated.
Sophomore forward Ashleigh Humphrey said, “We’ve had quite a few people step up this year. Our starting lineup usually includes Brittany Zamora, Caitlin Barganier, Jenny Black, Lindsay Eaton and Brandy Dittert. Also the players coming off the bench getting in the game do an outstanding job. I think that’s what’s different from last year as well. Teammates coming off the bench get out there and get the job done if it’s for five seconds or five minutes.”
What makes the team unique is close unity and friendship.
Sophomore exercise and sports science major and guard Cortney Poncik said, “Not only are we teammates, we are all really good friends off the court, hanging with each other even after practice. I would say we have become family, knowing we have each other’s back in all circumstances.”
The team is led by head Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thornton who has guided the Lady Cru to five ASC Championship Tournament appearances. She also took the UMHB women to a 21-6 overall record last season and helped the Cru women win the ASC West Division title for the first time in the program’s history.
“Coaching is often challenging and stressful, but those memorable games that come out in your team’s favor are very encouraging,” Kirkpatrick-Thorton said.
Reece said, “There are times in practice when we are so exhausted both physically and mentally, but our coaches continue to push us because they know we can keep going and that it will help us reach beyond our potential.”
The team is filled with encouragement for each other on and off the court.
“Coach K and the whole team make it very clear that nobody is more important than the other. The people on the bench cheer so loud for the ones on the court that it affects them in a positive way and is such encouragement,” Humphrey said.
“We all play our part in winning or losing.”