Women’s basketball eying a WIAC title

The+women%E2%80%99s+basketball+team+splits+up+into+three+groups+to+have+scrimmages+that+improve+their+individual+and+team+performance.+Oct.+19th%2C+2021.

Connor Dewick

The women’s basketball team splits up into three groups to have scrimmages that improve their individual and team performance. Oct. 19th, 2021.

Parker Olsen, Assistant Sports Editor

The UW Whitewater women’s basketball team is aiming at high goals as the team gets back in action. The team begins the season ranked 18th in the country by D3hoops.com after an 8-3 finish last season. The Warhawks finished in second place in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference last season.

The team has certainly set a precedent of winning, both in the WIAC and the nation. The Warhawks have missed the NCAA tournament only once since 2008. Head Coach Keri Carollo has 363 wins at UWW and only 155 losses since she took the job in 2002.

“Our expectations are the same for our team every year,” said Head Coach Carollo. “We expect to win the conference, we expect them to win the conference tournament and we expect them to make the NCAA tournament. That is standard for us… we’ve set a reputation in the conference and country that we are going to be a predominant program and we do want to maintain that level of play and expectations.”

 

The team won the conference regular season six times in the last 12 seasons. The team also won the conference tournament twice, in 2017 and 2018. This season the team is looking to retake the title in what is a competitive conference.

“We have a veteran group returning that we are excited about the way they are leading thus far. We also have a great group of young girls that are coming in, they can contribute,” said Carollo.

The Warhawks are led by four returning starters, including seniors Johanna Taylor, Rebekah Schumacher, Veronica Kieres and junior Aleah Grundahl. Taylor, a 6’2 center, was fourth in the nation in blocks last season and made the first team all-regional along with first team all-WIAC and the WIAC all-defensive team. Head Coach Carollo says that Taylor is expected to contribute significantly. Despite knocking on the door of record breaking numbers, team captain Johanna Taylor has her eyes set on  different goals.

“I want to win as many games as possible,” said senior Johanna Taylor “I want us to win the conference and we have the goal of winning the national championship.” The desire for a national title has long been in the women’s basketball program as it is a feat yet to be accomplished.

Taylor is one of the big pieces to the team’s main focuses, defense. The head coach is excited about how good the team’s post-play is, but the defense starts well before that. Head Coach Carollo says that the team will be using a full court defensive attack.

“The biggest thing that we try to do with our team is set the tone with our defensive pressure,” said Carollo. “That’s something I feel like we are really going to put as a point of emphasis this year, our full-court defense and really getting after people and making sure there is no rest for them. We want to play with a high level of intensity. If you’re a fan and you come watch a game I think you would enjoy the camaraderie, the teamwork, the level of intensity from our bench that translates onto the court.”

That level of intensity carries throughout the entire team. Taylor said that one of the team’s strengths is its fire and energy. 

Aleah Grundahl, a forward, comes into her third season as a member of the 2020-21 first team All-WIAC. She will be a major key for the offense, averaging 14.3 points per game last season, earning the fifth best ppg stat in the conference. 

“Aleah Grundahl was freshman of the year two years ago, and is our starting forward, we are expecting great things from her. We have a number of other ladies coming off the bench that we are excited about,” said Carollo.

The Warhawks regular season begins with a home game but that is the only home game for nearly the entire first two months of the season. The Warhawks have high hopes and high expectations for the 2020-21 season. It is easy to get caught looking ahead in the schedule, that is why Head Coach Carollo said that the most important game is the first one.

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