Duhawks open basketball season: Phillips leads team to victory in home-opener against Beloit

The Loras women’s basketball program is looking forward to a successful year as the 2015-2016 season gets underway. The team returns multiple athletes from last season’s 15-11 team, suggesting the team is primed and ready to improve on their performance this season. The Duhawks’ goals are to improve their conference record from last year’s respectable 9-5, as well as earn a better spot in the Iowa Conference Tournament.

Senior Kaitlin Phillips returns to lead the team this season. Phillips expressed her leadership in the season opener against Beloit on Friday,  assisting the Duhawks in their convincing win with 18 points and 38 minutes played, both team highs. The game wasn’t just a one man show, however, as juniors Terese McMahon and Kat Cabrera posted 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Each athlete who appeared in the game scored at least two points for the team. The women showcased a fast-paced offense that caught Beloit off guard, allowing for the women to capitalize on trips down the court.

Phillips mentioned after the game on Friday that Coach Heinzen is “stressing the fast-paced offense” and that the strategy will hopefully “catch the defense off guard”, allowing for easier scores and more fouls drawn. An increased amount of trips to the line proved effective for the Duhawks, as the team’s cumulative free throw percentage was 94%, going 16 for 17 from the line, a factor that helped lead the Duhawks to a win.

Besides the opportunity to capitalize on free throws, McMahon noted that “the guards were able to give some great passes” throughout the game, which allowed not only McMahon but also other post players to get a better shot at the basket. Going forward, the team wants to put an emphasis on good passing and minimizing turnovers while keeping the momentum going, a key to staying ahead in the game.

As far as turnovers went, the Loras women noted that “it was something they needed to improve on”, as the momentum was sometimes taken away from them over the course of the game due to turnovers. Although they posted four less turnovers than their opponent in the season opener, they are looking to shrink their turnover count as the season goes on.

“Overall the team played fairly well, but we had our highs and lows,” head coach Justin Heinzen said on the game. He went on to note that “we (the team)) had a solid first quarter, but then our performance came in waves”, meaning that while the team had some great moments and great runs, they also had strings in the game where their performance left something to be desired.
Heinzen made it clear that the team will look to improve these inconsistent waves, and focus on staying consistent throughout the course of the entire game.

Look for the Duhawks to put up some impressive performances against a notably tough early-season schedule, as they look to build and improve each aspect of the team while racking up some key wins.



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