Women’s basketball presses onward after rocky start

 Aaron Ladzinski-Staff Writer

After a rocky start in conference play, the women’s basketball team is on the uptick. They are 11-15 overall (3-13 in conference play), but in the past four games, the Lady Defenders have gone 3-1.

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The girls team huddles up before the game.

“Basketball is a sport where there are amazing moments in the season and then there are definitely low points in the season. We have had both,” said senior Hannah Norton.

“Facing adversity with a team is very challenging because how you respond can effect everything. And I believe even when we were struggling we never let it get to us. We kept moving forward and never gave up.”

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Rachel Evavold shoots over Northwestern Jan. 25, 2017.

Norton said the team’s tenacity is paying off, and that a mentality based on the need to continually improve continues to propel the women onward.

“Each game and each practice, we take away something positive and build from it. That is what we have been doing this season.”

The women’s winning streak started on Jan. 21 when the Lady Defenders beat Midland 78-58. Leading scorers of the game for the Defenders were sophomore Jamie Gesink and freshman Annie Rhinesmith with 16 points each. Freshman Rachel Evavold had 12 points, and freshman Ebby Prewitt had 10.

“I think our win against Midland was a big turning point for the kids’ confidence, and it allowed them to go into the Northwestern game knowing they were capable of winning,” said head coach Katie DeWitt-Severson.

“We came out believing that we were the better team that night and it showed. We shot the ball extremely well; the girls played with energy and determination and it always helps to have a great home crowd on your side,” said DeWitt-Severson.

A few nights later, the Defenders beat Northwestern in the De Witt with a final score of 89-83. Jamie Gesink led all the players with 24 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. This was the Lady Defenders’ second consecutive win and also their second conference win.

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Jamie Gesink goes up against Northwestern at home.

DeWitt-Severson said, “Beating Northwestern when they were ranked was a lot of fun… especially to see the carryover from the previous win.”

Norton mimicked that sentiment, calling the Lady Defender’s win over their red rival “the best feeling ever.”

“No doubt, if there is one team we want to beat this year, it is them,” said Norton.

The next game didn’t go as well for the Defenders as they lost to Doane 66-73. However, the women rebounded from the loss to Doane quickly, moving on to face Briar Cliff last Wednesday. The Lady Defenders beat this team 77-67 in another great game that brought the Dordt women’s conference record to 3-13.

The Defenders will end their season in the next two weeks against Morningside and College of Saint Mary at home, and also face Mount Marty and Concordia on the road.

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