Women's basketball team has experienced ups and downs

By: Matthew Revels, Sports Editor

Newman’s women's basketball team is hoping to end the season on a strong note and make the conference tournament.

Coach Nicole Johnson said that while making the conference tournament is the ultimate goal, she has other plans for the team.

“Our main goal for the end of the season is to just get better each day,” she said. “If we feel like we do that, we believe we will like the end result, which will be making it to the conference tournament. If we can keep getting better and better and stay together, we will make a push to get to Kansas City.”

The Jets are 7-16 overall with four conference wins this year. The season started off well with a win in their first conference game of the season. However long losing streaks were a problem throughout the season. But both the coach and players hope to end the season on a higher note.

Despite her team’s record, Johnson said she feels like the season was overall good.

“It was a little up and down at times, but our players have done a fantastic job of staying focused and fighting through adversity. We’ve changed a few things as of late with how we play, and our players have stayed bought into what we’re doing, and it’s paid off.

We are really proud of how they come in everyday and keep fighting to get better each and every day. We have a couple big games to end the season so we’re excited to see how it ends”, Johnson said.

Sophomore Lauryn Dubbert said the season has been a roller coaster.

“This season has had its ups and downs,” she said. “We've grown a lot over the last five months and are playing very good basketball right now. We've worked to get better every day bringing the right mindset and energy needed. We're looking to make a late push to end the season.”

Like every team, the Jets have their strengths and weaknesses as well, Duppert said. But it’s all brought the team closer.

“One of our biggest strengths this year is having a very close-knit team,” she said. “We all play together and for each other well, which has led us to playing our best basketball late in the year. One of our weaknesses has been finishing games. We have been in a lot of close games and even led late in the fourth quarter but haven't finished them out”

This season has produced a few players who have proven themselves and will be given the ball when the season is on the line, Johnson said.

“Britney Ho has been our leading scorer this year,” she said. “She does a fantastic job in the post, and she’s worked really hard to shoot at a high percentage in the paint and also stretch her game to the 3 point line.

Johnson also praised point guard Maddie Spagnola, who is a graduate student.

“She has shot the 3 from a really high percentage and also has been our vocal leader this year.

Carissa Beck also has been a standout and is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, Johnson said.

“Night in and night out, she is guarded by one of the other team’s best defenders, and she still finds a way to find and knock down open shots,” Johnson said.

“We are really proud of how they come in everyday and keep fighting to get better each and every day,” Johnson said. “We have a couple big games to end the season so we’re excited to see how it ends.”

The Jets finish their season with home games against Rogers State on Saturday and Central Oklahoma on Feb. 25. They’ll also play an away game at Missouri Western on Wednesday.

The Jets are currently ranked 11th overall and need to win their next three games, especially the game against No. 10 Central Oklahoma, to make the tournament.

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics