Despite some early season setbacks, the Pointers women’s basketball team has finished their non-conference season with a 4-1 record.
“This season has been sort of a rollercoaster with injuries and illnesses, but overall I think our team has done a good job of approaching every game with the right mindset,” said senior guard Jenna Pitt.
Starters Alyssa Olp and Autumn Hennes suffered early season injuries and have been without the pair for the majority of the season up to this point.
“We are missing a few players due to injury and that’s been very challenging,” said Head Coach Shirley Egner. “Our reserves and the rest of the team have rallied around each other and have competed.”
Senior post Myranda Tyler cites the team’s depth as a reason for the Pointers continuing to compete despite injuries.
“Our strength this year really lies in the depth of our team,” Tyler said. “We have girls who aren’t afraid to step up and face a difficult challenge.”
Egner even explained how the injuries could help them in the long run. “Other kids are getting an opportunity to play when they wouldn’t have. That’s going to help us in the long run,” Egner said.
One of those players has been junior guard Jaime Destache. Normally a role player, Destache wasinserted into the lineup after Hennes’ injury and hasn’t looked back. “She’s done a great job on the offensive and defensive end,” Egner said.
The Pointers defense has proven to be a strength as well. They average less than 55 points allowed and are averaging 43 rebounds per game.
“Our defense is solid and we are doing a great job of rebounding,” Egner said.
Egner and Pitt both cite the offensive production of the team as lacking, at least right now.
“We need to improve on the offensive end with our motion on offense, creating shots for each other and improving our assist to turnover ratio,” Pitt said.
“I wish we would have a little bit more of an offensive flow,” Egner said. “We aren’t shooting the ball well right now, but that will come with more repetition.”
It’s understandable that the Pointers are struggling with offense after losing three of their top four scorers from last season; Sam Barber, Liz Althoff and Brooke Allen.
“All three of them contributed with different parts of the offense,” Egner said. “We are still trying to fill those voids.”
Tyler explained that the team isn’t trying to replace Barber, Althoff and Allen.
“We’re working to develop our own unique way of getting the job done by utilizing all the new, special talents we have to showcase this year,” Tyler said.
Pitt agreed with Tyler’s statement.
“We have a different team and that is all we focus on, not what happened last year,” Pitt said.
Another big part of this season may not even involve the team, with Stevens Point hosting the Women’s Basketball Division III Final Four.
“It’s really exciting,” Egner said. “It’s all about the student athlete experience and I just think that central Wisconsin is going to come out and really embrace this tournament,” Egner said.
Pitt also recognized the honor of hosting the tournament on their home court.
“It’s just great for our community and our school to be able to experience this opportunity,” Pitt said.
While there is a possibility for the Pointers to make it all the way and play the Final Four on their home court, it isn’t a possibility they want to discuss just yet.
“That is neither my, nor my team’s focus right now,” Tyler said. “Our heads are concentrated on the very next game in front of us. I can re-answer this question when we make it there.”
Egner really stressed the importance of not looking too far ahead. “We want to take one game at a time,” Egner said.
“I know it’s coach speak and cliché, but honestly it’s where we have to go,” Egner said. “The last three years we’ve been saying that the game at hand is the most important game of the season, regardless of who we play. It’s worked for us. It’s kept us in the moment.”