Coming off a 16-10 record and 13-8 in conference play last spring, the Lady Cru basketball team is working hard to return to the American Southwest Conference Championship tournament this season.
The team is young with only seven women returning, and just three are seniors. The team will need some of the 12 newcomers to step up and play a leading role for the rest of the season.
The Lady Cru has struggled so far this season with a 2-15 overall record and 1-12 in conference play but are striving to make a late-season run for the ASC West #4 seed.
Achieving this goal will allow them to go to the ASC Championship tournament and give them a shot to secure a position in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship.
With eight games left in the season, all ASC West Division rivalries, the team still has a shot at making the post-season. Every game is crucial, as a win or loss may be the deciding factor in determining the future.
Head women’s basketball Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thornton has her game plan ready.
“We want to come out each game like it is the most important. One game at a time, one half at a time, and one possession at a time,” she said.
Senior exercise and sport major Brittany Zamora is not worried about the last eight crucial games.
“We are approaching each game the same way. We know that we have to attack the offensive and defensive boards and keep the turnovers down in order to be successful. We’ve had a rough season …but we are continuing to make progress,” she said. “There’s no other group of girls I’d rather be playing these last games with. We will continue to work hard, learn from our mistakes, and everything else will take care of itself.”
Freshman computer graphic design major Carmen Maciel believes in her teammates regardless of the record they currently hold.
“I think the whole team is still fighting to get better each practice, and we will continue to work hard to get to the tournament. We are a team, and we all desire to win and represent UMHB in a winning way,” she said.
The Lady Cru’s latest win was a 70-55 victory over Texas Lutheran University at home. Junior nursing major Brandy Dittert expressed her team’s feelings.
“It’s really boosted our confidence. It shows us that we can excel and have success when we work together as a team,” she said.
Dittert also stated their key to winning.
“Being consistent and working hard in practice to get those wins marked down in the book.”
The team will keep fighting as the final games of the season will determine the ASC West Division standings for post-season play.
Kirkpatrick-Thornton describes her team as being “true Crusaders, as they want to make a change and a difference on and off the court.”
The women will take the court Thursday at home against the Lady Jackets of Howard Payne.
Last season, the ladies split in their division matchups. In both games, the away team was victorious.
Dittert speaks for the team when she said that they are ready for their upcoming game.
“We have a mindset of solely focusing on our competition. We figure out their strengths and weaknesses and find ways to attack their offense and defense, so we’ll be able to shut them down.”