Last year women’s basketball team made it all the way to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Hope College, 76-63.This year the Yellowjackets opened up their season with a heartbreaking 53-52 loss to Medaille College. Sophomore forward/center Amy Woods stepped up big in the game providing needed points and boards.
Expectations are extremely high for a Yellowjacket team that is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation by d3hoops.com and has a number of key returning players, including senior guard Melissa Alwardt (13.9 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game last season) and junior forward/center Jodie Luther (11.6 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game last season). A key to the UR playbook is Woods (5.9 points per game and six rebounds per game last season).
The Yellowjackets had a difficult time scoring consistently throughout the Medaille game, as the team shot a combined 31.7 percent (20 of 63) from the floor. Woods, who earned All-University Athletic Association Honorable Mention last season, was one of the lone bright spots for the Yellowjackets, as she contributed a double-double performance with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
When did you start playing competitive basketball?
I started playing competitively in second grade. From there on out I started playing [Amateur Athletic Union] basketball.
What are your goals this year for the basketball season, both individually and team-wise?
Being a bigger contributor individually and being able to step up when the team needs it is my goal. Team-wise, we made it to the Final Four last year and we want to go back, win the UAA and then hopefully win a national championship.
How will the team keep from being complacent this year and stay motivated to improve on last year’s Final Four finish?
I think the game against Medaille was kind of a wake up call. We had trouble hitting shots and it made us realize that we really can’t take a day off in practice. When you are ranked top five in the country, everyone is coming after you every game and you have a target on your back. So we really have to keep working hard.
What does the team need to improve on to rebound from the Medaille loss and hopefully get a win this Friday versus Ithaca College?
I think we need to work on being more patient on offense. We had open shots and we played good defense against Medaille, we just weren’t hitting our shots.
What pressures come with being ranked so high in the pre-season national basketball poll?
It’s something that is really cool that we’re there, but we can’t really think about it because so many people want to beat us. We just have to play our game and focus on winning each individual game.
What are you studying at UR and what do you see yourself doing after college?
I am majoring in public health and minoring in Spanish. I definitely want to pursue something in the health field, or maybe go abroad and use Spanish in something that I do.
Who is your favorite professional basketball player and why?
I am a big Chris Paul fan because he went to Wake Forest [University] and I am a Wake Forest fan. I also like how he leads his team really well.
What is the single best part about being a member of the women’s basketball team?
Definitely the friends that I have here. All of my teammates are my best friends here, and I know I can count on them on and off the court. I think that’s why we have been so successful in recent years because of how much we all get along with one another.
Mulberg is a member of the class of 2014.