The women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to eight with victories over UW-Oshkosh and UW-Stout this past Wednesday and Saturday.
After a 6-4 start to the season, the Warhawk women have turned their season around, vaulting back into contention for the WIAC title. Sophomore guards Mary Merg and Kaitlyn Thill agreed improved team chemistry has been the driving force behind the win streak.
“We’re just having so much more fun now and the team chemistry has been so much better than it was at the beginning of the season,” Merg said. “I think that’s why we’ve been playing better.”
The ’Hawks defeated UW-Oshkosh 70-56 at home on All-American night. After a slow start, the ’Hawks pulled away at the end of the first half, going into the break leading by eight.
“Defense and raising our intensity was the key,” Thill said. “We didn’t have it to start the game, but when we started pulling away it was because we raised our intensity level.”
In the second half, the ’Hawks continued to play well defensively to secure the win. They kept the streak rolling with another win at UW-Stout.
Merg and junior Cortney Kumerow combined to score 38 points against the Blue Devils, helping the ’Hawks to a 72-55 win.
Although Merg and Kumerow lead the ’Hawks in scoring, the team prides itself on having a balanced offensive attack. Against Oshkosh, five players scored at least nine points.
The ’Hawks enjoy the advantage of having so many offensive options, Merg said.
“No matter who we play, their best defender can’t guard all five of us,” Merg said.
“We can go pretty deep into our bench without losing anything on the floor,” Thill said. “It’s nice to have so many girls who can score and fill in.”
The ’Hawks, currently tied for third place in the WIAC, have a huge game tonight against second-place UW-Stevens Point.
“We’ve been working pretty hard on rebounding and I think if we can box out and keep improving on that, we should have a chance to beat Point,” Merg said. “We just need to keep our intensity up on defense and play like we have been playing.”
The Pointers almost always have a good team and Thill said this year is no different.
“Stevens Point is always a tough shooting team and they can play in the post too,” Thill said. “We’ll definitely need to have good intensity and rebounding right away, instead of starting slow and picking it up halfway through the first half.”
The ’Hawks will try to keep the streak going as they compete in a tight race for the WIAC title.