After a short stint as the number-one team in Division III women’s basketball, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point women’s basketball team hit their first snag of the season.
The Pointers were a perfect 3-0 heading into a game against the University of St. Thomas on Sunday. After holding a halftime lead, UWSP fell to St. Thomas, 73-70.
Despite the loss, the 3-1 Pointers are still ranked third in the country. Head coach Shirley Egner is not pleased with how her team handled the St. Thomas game.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the productivity and our passion versus the outcome against St. Thomas,” Egner said. “We believe that if we play to our ability, we’ll be a tough out, and we just didn’t play to our ability, and we’re still a tough out. I think that’s what makes it sting a little bit more.”
One thing that Egner cannot complain about is the offensive production from senior guard Sam Barber.
“Offensively, she is a machine,” Egner said. “It’s incredible the numbers that she’s put up against quality opponents we’ve played against.”
Barber is averaging a team best 21.8 points per game. Barber also leads the team in rebounds with 5.8 per game.
“She’s definitely a kid that can create her own shot, but I’d like her to have that same effort on the defensive side of the ball and help us rebound a little more,” Egner said. “She’s got the offensive skill set. We just need her to have that on the defensive end of the ball.”
Egner explained that the team did have some bright spots so far this season. “For the most part, we’ve played together, and we’ve shot the ball well,” Edger said.
The offensive output of the Pointers is one of their strengths. UWSP has averaged more than 71 points per game this season.
But according to Egner, the weaknesses of the team have outweighed their strengths. “It’s a lot easier for me to tell you the things we haven’t done well this season,” Egner said.
Egner pointed to turnovers as a big problem this season, stating that they were killing the team so far. The Pointers have turned the ball
over an average of 19 times per game.
Another issue, Egner says, is the team’s communication. “We really need to be a more vocal team out on the floor on both sides of the ball,” Egner said.
When asked if the team had played to Egner’s expectations so far the answer was simple: no. “We need to have competitive spirit every time we step on the floor for 40 minutes,” Egner said.
“This really can be a special basketball team if we can get everything coming together at the right time,” Egner said. ‘It’s my job and my assistants’ job to get those pieces all interlocked so when March comes we’re just that well-oiled machine.”
The Pointers are set to start conference play this weekend when they travel to the University of Wisconsin-Superior to face a tough Yellowjackets team.
“It will be interesting to see how this team bounces back from a loss,” Egner said. “Superior will be a tough game for us on the road. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”