Luther College Chips

Women’s Basketball advances to IIAC Championship finals

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Anna Madrigal (‘17) fights her way around a double team.

Anna Madrigal (‘17) fights her way around a double team.

Photo Courtesy of Luther Photo Bureau

Photo Courtesy of Luther Photo Bureau

Anna Madrigal (‘17) fights her way around a double team.

Emma Busch, Staff Writer

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On Feb. 23, Luther Women’s Basketball beat Loras College 65-62 in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) semifinals. This victory advanced the team to the finals. The women were subsequently beaten by Wartburg College 81-68 in the championship finals.

In the semifinals, Katie Waller (‘18) led the team in scoring with 17 points, including two free throws that gave the Norse the lead with 20 seconds left. Laura Hamilton (‘20) scored 13 points and Anna Madrigal (‘17) scored eight points. Hamilton also led the team with eight rebounds and contributed four assists.

In the finals, the Norse fell just short of beating Wartburg. Hamilton led the team in scoring with 16 points, closely followed by Waller with 15 and Madrigal with 13. Hamilton and Waller both led the team with seven rebounds each. The Norse ended their season 17-10.

Because the team was participating in a tournament, they did not know who they would play until two days before the game. Forward Lauren Resner (‘18) explained the team mentality in tournament play.

“In tournament play, there’s a saying that goes ‘the ones who are supposed to win don’t always win and the underdogs can pull out,’” Resner said. “So we went in with that mentality.”

According to Resner, this did not present a challenge to the team because they were prepared to face any opponent.

“We knew who was playing and so we got a feel for both teams,” Resner said. “Obviously we didn’t want to say who was going to be the winner, but we were planning for Loras. But just in case, we were also practicing for Nebraska.”

In order to prepare for the game, the women have focused on perfecting their technique, according to team captain and forward Madrigal.

“A lot of it is focusing on what we do and perfecting the style of basketball we want to play,” Madrigal said. “We can’t control how Loras is going to prepare or know for certain how they’re going to attack us, so it has been our motto all season to focus on what we can bring to the game: hard work, defensive toughness, and a fast tempo.”

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Amanda Bailey explained the obstacles that the team had to overcome early in the season.

“I am extremely proud of how our team has come together and grown this year,” Bailey said. “We started out the season 0-3 in non-conference, playing some very tough competition. We were playing many young kids and still trying to figure out the team’s identity.”

Bailey described the development that the team went through as the season progressed.

“We talked a lot about patience in the beginning of the season and continuing to get better everyday and I think that we still are getting better,” Bailey said. “With every practice and game this group comes together more and raises our level of play. Coming into the season we were picked to finish fourth in the conference. I think that we have surprised a lot of people and surpassed their expectations.”

Center Madilyn Heinke (‘19) described the team’s determination that led to their success.

“There’s definitely challenges in every season,” Heinke said. “This year, coach liked to explain that it was a rollercoaster. There’s a lot of ups and downs, but no matter what we just stuck through. Because we have such a young team, we didn’t know what was going to happen coming into the season, so everybody was playing really hard.”

Heinke described the overall feel of the season, looking forward to the future.

“Our highs were really high, like when we beat Wartburg, and then our lows got pretty low when we lost the following game by quite a bit,” Heinke said. “There were a few games where we just didn’t come together, but when we did, it was amazing. I believe this is the best we’ve ever played together. I’m really excited to see where we go.”

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