The UR women’s basketball team saw its undefeated season come to an end this weekend with a loss to the Washington University in St. Louis Bears on Friday.
The Yellowjackets went down after a tough road battle against the top-ranked team in the country. UR faced many challenges on the court, and sophomore Ashley Latimer described the Bears as “a strong team all around.” Freshman Bobbi Stewart noted that Washington’s raw athleticism, fierce post play and agressive rebounding also made a win more difficult to attain.
Stewart also said that the team put up a defensive wall that slowed Washington, and held their opponents in check as they repeatedly attempted to push the ball up the floor in their trademark transition offense.
Head Coach Jim Scheible felt that UR played well and put forth great team effort during the game. He recalled a fast-paced contest and mentioned the contributions of both starters and reserves who sparked the initial surge of strong basketball. “Hallie Frederick, Jenna Filia, Shannon Higgins, Sarah Sullivan, Ashley Latimer and Bekah Jones really kept us in the games,” Scheible said of his bench.
With the first meeting of the season out of the way, the Yellowjackets will now shift their focus to Feb. 23, when the Bears come to the Palestra for a much-anticipated UAA rematch. “The true test will come when they come back here,” said Scheible, who asserted that his squad was eagerly anticpating the matchup.
Scheible is confident that has team can continue to compete at a high level. “The important thing is that this game proved to us that we are capable of beating any team in the country when we play well,” he said.
After recovering from the tough loss to the Bears, UR brought a resurgence to its game with a striking victory 68-56 over University of Chicago, the Yellowjackets’ first win in Chicago in nine seasons.
“We really had to turn things around,” sophomore Megan Fish said. “We had to move on and play well. It was a game we just had to win.” Stewart echoed her teammate’s remarks, noting “we came out and decided we couldn’t lose.”
This determination inspired the team to focus and come home with the victory. UR shot an impressive 71 percent from the field in the first half and got string offensive peformances from junior Erika Smith, Fish and sophomore Kelly Wescott.
The team is focused on “playing their game” and not allowing their opponents to control the way the Yellowjackets play basketball.
“The way we look at it is we have to do what we do well,” Scheible explained. “Defend hard, rebound and play aggressive offensively, and then we control the game to a certain degree.”
“Playing our game is playing basketball the way we want to play, and dictate what we want to happen, and not be forced to do what their defense is dictating. We want to rise above their game and play how we know we want to play,” said Latimer.
UR brought this momentum into their game on Tuesday, handling local rival Nazareth 69-49. The game was not as intense as the previous two, but the Yellowjackets managed to pull out a victory.
“Overall, we had a sluggish first half, came back, went up 1 to up 31 in ten minutes,” Scheible dictated.
The win was summarized as an overall team effort, with strong play from the starters complemented by a boost from the bench late in the first half. The victory improves UR’s overall record to 14-1.The Yellowackets continue to recognize the importance of efficient team play.
“Our team is really close, and you can tell — we have chemistry,” Stewart said. “Things just click, it feels like a team, we play well together. We all know our role in the team and we have a very good chemistry, and that is why we are winning games. We always go out there wanting to win.”
Latimer discussed the support each athlete and coach has for one another and the incredible enthusiasm each person exudes. The Yellowjackets look to carry this passion through the remainder of the season and into the NCAA Tournament.
With that first defeat behind them, the Yellowjackets must now make sure that the losing does not become a trend. “I think we are up for the challenge,” Latimer said.
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