Lady Jets finish post-season eager for next year

THE LADY JETS finished their season last weekend with a loss to Oklahoma Christian. Courtesy photo, Newman Athletics

The women’s basketball team finished its season last weekend with a loss against Oklahoma Christian 72-83. 

“Our conference tournament game was a frustrating experience for us. We had beaten Oklahoma Christian twice in conference play, and we knew what we had to do,” Darin Spence, the women’s head basketball coach, said.

Spence said the second half of the game was particularly brutal.

“The second quarter was probably one of the worst quarters we had played all year. Our inability to get on the same page dug a hole for us, and it was hard to climb out of it,” he said. “We played much better in the second half but just couldn’t get shots to go in, and we had many wide open shots with some of our best shooters taking those shots. We just couldn’t get over the hump that day and came up a little short.”

The women’s season ended with 17 wins, eight of which were conference games. The ladies finished fourth in the Heartland Conference and had even risen to second place at one point.  There were some big wins against a couple national powers and MIAA conference teams— Emporia State and Washburn.

“This team provided some exciting home games against those schools and showed we could compete with anyone on our schedule,” Spence said. 

The team started off the season strong both physically and mentally but was unable to finish how they expected, freshman Haley Albers said.

 “Overall, [we did] pretty well. It didn’t quite end the way we wanted it to,” she said. “We had high expectations this year, and it just fell a little short of our goal at the end of this season. I just think keeping up with the mental toughness. We started the season pretty well, but you could see it took a toll on us. We weren’t as there as the beginning of the season.”

The team coming back next season is just as good, Albers said. 

“We’re definitely still chasing that ring next year, so we’re definitely going to have a good team, for sure.”

Spence said that he and the team are excited to get ready for the next season and their next opportunity to take the ring. 

“We have an exciting group of young players returning who we are very excited about. They are great people who are here for all the right reasons, and they give back to this program in a big way,” Spence said. “We also have a good group of juniors who can be some of the top players in our league if they will invest in the off-season and come back ready to be better and lead the way for us.”

This story first appeared in the March 8, 2018 issue of The Vantage.

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