Bradley’s “official” basketball teams may be tipping off, but basketballs have been bouncing on the Hilltop for a while.
The women’s club basketball team is coming off of a weekend tournament at Illinois State University in which they went 4-1. It was the team’s second tournament together and they are now 7-3 on the season.
“We played five different teams,” team president Cathryne Spear said. “We won all three games on Saturday [against] Marquette, St. Louis and Illinois State. We got ranked second going into Sunday.”
The women beat Indiana University’s B-team in the first game on Sunday but lost to the Hoosier’s A-team in their final game.
“The IU A-team scouted us before hand, which made me really angry,” Spear said. “We lost to them by 12.”
Overall, Spear said she thought that the weekend was a success and she thought the team played well.
“We have mostly sophomores and juniors on the team, when last year we were all freshmen and sophomores, so we’re a pretty young team,” Spear said. “But we’ve been playing together for two years now, so we’re starting to get the hang of it.”
Spear emphasized the improvement from last year to this year. The team only won two games last year, and now have more than tripled that number.
The women’s winning ways may be astonishing to some basketball enthusiasts. As Spear points out, they’re always the smallest team on the court.
“Every other team has six-footers,” Spear said. “Our tallest player is 5’10”. We’re not exactly the tallest team in the world but we’re quick, so that helps, and we have really good defenders.”
The women also have a pair of guards to thank for their success. Sophomore Brittany Rice and junior Rachel Hinchman have been stellar with controlling the ball and commanding the offense.
“We have some killer three-point shooters,” Spear said. “Our ball-handling is pretty solid. Under pressure, [the guards] are very calm, which is very helpful. I know they’re not going to lose their heads.”
Aside from the team’s execution in the game, the women have also implemented a new conditioning plan this season. Before the season began, each player signed up to run a 30-minute conditioning workout before practice. Each workout is uniquely created by a different player and has had a tremendous effect on the team’s performance.
“It’s been different from last year,” Spear said. “It’s really cool because you get all of these ideas from other people for conditioning and it’s been paying off.”
An experienced team mixed with improved conditioning seems to make for a winning formula and success in tournaments to come.