Women’s basketball team falls in conference semifinals

The women’s basketball team’s season came to a tough end a week ago in the Iowa Conference Tournament semifinals. Facing the Luther Norse, the Duhawks fell, 65-62, in Decorah.

photo courtesy of Loras College Athletics

“I definitely felt pressure knowing that this could be my final game, but I tried not to focus on that and just give my best effort and not hold anything back,” said senior center Lori Obendorf.

Loras opened strong against No. 2-seeded Luther and built a 6-3 lead, but the Norse responded with back-to-back baskets to take back the lead. The Duhawks surged ahead before halftime with their largest lead of the night, 32-25.

“It was a grind from start to finish between two good teams, and we battled hard the whole way,” said Obendorf.

The battle continued into the third and fourth quarters with a volley of who held the lead.  Highlights include senior guard Erin Weaver and junior guard Cyerra Hutchins pocketing 15 points apiece, and Obendorf posting 12 which contributed to the team shooting 76% in the second quarter.

“It could have gone either way, but unfortunately, we didn’t execute down the stretch so it didn’t turn out in our favor. But I’m glad we went down fighting and playing as a team,” said Obendorf. “We stayed together the whole way. I wish it could’ve ended differently, but I wouldn’t have wanted to play alongside anyone else this season.”

A misplaced Duhawk foul in the final stretch allowed the Norse a free throw opportunity, claiming their win, meaning the disappointing end of a tiresome and challenging season.

“From the start (of the season), things weren’t really going as planned. We dropped our first three conference games in December. Then at the beginning of January, Kat (Cabrera), our senior point guard, tore her Achilles. We lost our next game to start conference 0-4. I think our team easily could have folded under these circumstances, but we came together,” said Obendorf.

With this loss the team moves forward, looking ahead to next year less their five seniors.

“This team is so talented and has so much heart and energy every single day. We have so many girls that have so many different strengths, everyone from the starting five to the last person on the bench. I am extremely excited to see what next year holds for the returners,” said senior Erin Weaver.

Though the loss to Luther means an end in one sense, the strength of the program’s legacy is not something to be discarded.

“Basketball at Loras is a family. I know any of my teammates would be there for me if I needed anything now or in the future and I would do the same for them. I am so happy with my choice to be a Duhawk and cannot imagine spending the last four years anywhere else,” said Weaver. “This year specifically, I think that I truly appreciated every day that I was able to play much more than any other year … As coach tells us every day, cherish and finish every possession because you never know when it will be your last.”

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Natalie Droeske is the Executive Sports Editor for The Lorian.

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