Wheelchair teams ready for nationals

The men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams are gearing up for the National Invitational Wheelchair Basketball Tournament this weekend in Arlington, Texas.

Finishing 21-1 this season, the men received the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and face the winner of the Missouri vs. Alabama game Friday at 11 a.m.

Nate Hinze

“Being the one seed kind of makes it difficult, it proves we had a solid season but definitely puts you as that team with a target on your back,” men’s head coach Jeremy Lade said.

The men go into the tournament as the favorite to bring home another title, but  need to watch out for the Illini if they face them deeper in.

The Illini handed the men their only loss of the season in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Feb. 5. The ’Hawks finished 5-1 against the Illini.

The Warhawks have played close with nearly all the teams they faced and look to have an even more stingy completion during the tournament.

The ‘Hawks’ key strengths have been their shooters and low post men.

Senior Nate Hinze, who averages a double-double per game, has been one of the team’s biggest contributors, along with their international talent from Germany, Israel, and Ireland.

The women have had a consistently dependable group.

In only their third season at UW-Whitewater, the women already compete against perennial powerhouses.

The women’s team was given the No. 2 seed in the tournament, is also coming off an excellent season, finishing 14-3.

They face the University of Illinois in the opening round.

Head coach Dan Price said the highlight of the women’s season was when they defeated No. 1 Alabama twice, handing them their first two losses of the year on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The ’Hawks finished 2-2 against the Crimson Tide.

“We know our competition and whatever team decides to work the hardest and executes their game plan the best will come out on top,” Price said.

Sophomore Becca Murray, who participated on the U.S. national team when she was 16-years-old, has shown to be a dominant player all season. Murray averages 19.8 points per game and pulls down 7.9 rebounds.

She is a fast paced, pure shooter who has been an integral part of the team’s success. She knows nationals won’t come easy.

“It’s definitely going to be tough,” Murray said. “Hopefully we’ll do what we have to do to win Nationals.”

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