Caleb Pollema—Staff Writer
Temperatures falling in Northwest Iowa and winter inching closer can mean only one thing: It’s time to move into the gym to watch some Defender basketball.
Both the Dordt men’s and women’s basketball teams have begun their regular season and conference games.
The Dordt women have begun the season with a 5-1 record and a 1-1 record in the GPAC. Their first loss came on Saturday against Morningside.
The Defenders began preparations for their season with a rigorous offseason of lifting and a conditioning program that prepared them to play with pace.
“We had a lifting program that we did three to four times a week, and the days we didn’t have a lift, we had a shooting workout we had to do,” junior guard Payton Harmsen said. “We spent a lot of time running and conditioning in order to prepare for the style of play Coach Harmsen wanted: fast.”
The Defenders’ hot start can be attributed to their offensive successes. The team has averaged 88 points per game in their first six contests.
“We look to push the ball up the floor as fast as we can in order to get a good, quick shot,” Harmsen said. “We want to get quick stops and quick scores so we can increase the amount of offensive possessions we get.”
With this focus on offensive production, the Dordt women have been off to an excellent start, which has given them confidence as they head into the rest of their conference slate.
The Dordt men’s basketball team has opened their season with a 4-2 record overall and a 1-1 start in conference play.
The Defenders received their first conference victory this past Wednesday with a comfortable 81-56 victory over the Mount Marty Lancers in Yankton, South Dakota.
Men’s coach Brian Van Haaften was proud of the way his players limited the Lancers offensively.
“We did a better job of passing the ball and played excellent defense the entire game,” Van Haaften said. “I thought our guys did a tremendous job on switches and I thought our five men really played well defensively tonight—that was really great to see.”
The defense looks to continue to improve on an already solid start to the season. The Defenders’ defense ranks third in the GPAC allowing only 71.17 points per game.
“The GPAC has always been a tough conference and each win in college is tough, so starting strong for us is important,” junior forward Josh Van Lingen said.
Both teams are eager for the rest of the season as they continue to build on their positive starts.
The Defender men and women will continue conference play at Dakota Wesleyan this Wednesday. The women’s game begins at 6 p.m. and the men will follow at 8 p.m.