Duhawks power up, 1 game at a time

photo courtesy of Loras College Athletics

by Natalie Droeske

Sitting at 14-9 at the time of publication, the Loras women’s basketball team has surged headfirst into the second half of their season with a recent victory over Central and a solid showing against the Luther Norse.

After a slow start to the season, the IIAC tournament is in sight and these Duhawks want to make a strong showing.

“Our start hurt us a lot and we’re still trying to make up for that start, but we’re in a good position now,” said head coach Justin Heinzen.

With a five game winning streak under the belt and their eyes set on the future, this team’s balanced talent has the potential to do big things.

“Our inside game is a staple of ours for sure, and we’ve been able to balance that with shooting, especially in the second half of the season once our shooters got comfortable and in a rhythm,” said Heinzen. “The dynamics of being able to have a perimeter and a post game has been really strong for us.”

In the wake of suffering the loss of senior Kat Cabrera to an Achilles injury at practice, four Duhawks shine and have stepped up to fill the gap: Senior post Lori Obendorf, senior forward Therese McMahon, junior Cyerra Hutchins, and junior Lauren Stanich.

“Those four players consistently have been good for us, but other players pop in big spots in different games,” Heinzen said.
Obendorf posted her fifth double-double of the season with a team-high of 15 points and 13 rebounds against the Norse on Saturday and continues to be a presence in the paint.  On a related note, Obendorf was also named to the CoSIDA academic all-district team last Thursday, an organization honoring academic and athletic excellence.

At this point in the season, it is important to remain focused and clearheaded, taking one game at a time.  The Duhawks focus on the next game ahead and the next game only in order to divide and conquer.

“We just try to think about the next one, and that’s where all of our focus has been. Because if you look too far ahead, you might not get there.  You have to make the tournament to have a chance … you have to get there to get there; you have to earn that opportunity,” said Heinzen. “You’re only as good as your next game, especially at this time of the year. You have to earn the next one every time.”

This squad has the strengths and ability to go far in the tournament this year.  They are set to face Nebraska Wesleyan this Saturday after battling Coe on Wednesday.

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