Coach’s Column: Justin Heinzen

Justin Heinzen (TheLorian)

I think the flow of the season has gone pretty well, considering. We’re a very very young group that is learning a lot but we’re careful not to use that as an excuse. We have a talented roster and lots of new faces in new roles and with all the new, we have been up and down in terms of consistency, but to be expected. Even at that, I thought we had a pretty good rhythm going out of the gates and showed a lot of growth in our first three games, both in terms of experiential learning and in the win column. We fought hard and the team was doing well with making noticeable adjustments we were asking of them. We were able to break a long-standing school record in 3’s made just three games into the season, which shows the high level this team is capable of. 

As we were getting ready for game four, we received word of a looming week-long quarantine and the ripple effect of that has taken a minute to adjust to. We dropped two games since which I think was more a matter of re-adjusting to timing, speed, and details and less about measuring a team’s worth. We’re looking forward to a big four-game week ahead both in terms of experience and measuring sticks. 

We play an aggressive style that’s very fast and per metrics, has us as top 3 in the nation in possessions per game. Forcing turnovers is the name of our game and we’ll try to do that both in the full and half court. I’ve been happy with our progress in the full court and we’ve spent a lot of time lately trying to solidify things in the half court defensively. Our style is fairly complex and so new compared to what we’ve done in the past so we’ve definitely not arrived but are making strides. 

We’re led by two sophomores Cierra Bachmann and Madison Haslow, and a first year named Sami Martin. Bachmann has taken over the point guard spot and really works on both ends of the floor. She’s probably had to endure the biggest transition in role in terms of pressures of the job but to her credit, has adjusted very well and puts in a lot of time to allow herself to make the jump she has from her first year. 

Haslow was really starting to make great strides late last season and has only continued that this year. She had a great summer and is a player that makes the game look easier than it is.  Sami joined us in December and has really done well with a super-fast crash course of Loras basketball. She’s a special talent, has an awesome demeanor on the floor, and is getting more aggressive each time out as she settles in. And we’re getting healthier and will soon welcome back sophomore Madison Fleckenstein, arguably our best returning player from a season ago. Certainly the team is more than the four mentioned but we have a good enough core to make a run at a tournament title. 

I think there’s a really high level of excitement for the foundation of our program. We’re really going to be good going forward but we’re not really in waiting mode and we’re excited to have the chance to compete and continue to develop this year’s version of Duhawk Women’s Basketball.

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