By Danielle Linton
The women’s basketball team recently competed against their biggest rivalry, the University of Baker on Tuesday, November 23. The women’s basketball team had been preparing for this game in hopes that they could finally beat a nationally ranked team.
However, Timothy Dixon, the women’s basketball coach, knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“They are so athletic,” Dixon said. “They’re tall, they’re athletic, they can all shoot the three. So, for us we really just have to defend the oddball person. The person who has the ball, we can’t let them get to the basket because when they want to drive we come over to help on the drive. They’ll just pass it to the open shooter and then they’ll go ahead and take that shot. So, for us the key to really beat them and defend them is just don’t get beat by the person who is guarding the ball and if we could do that we’ll have a lot of success.”
At the beginning of the game, when the referee tossed the ball into the air sophomore, Haley Meyer, was able to knock the ball to one of her teammates. Then, junior, Veronika Petkova, earned two points off free throws. Although the women’s basketball team was now in the lead, Baker caught up to them making both of the teams becoming tied at 2-2.
“Well, my first year we beat Baker when they were nationally ranked, here,” Dixon said. “We beat them my first year, so two years ago. But, we haven’t beat them since.”
Although it has been a struggle to beat Baker, coach Dixon still considers them as a good competitor.
“They’re a great team,” Dixon said. “They deserve to be where they are, but I think for us we really match up well this year and we can do some things that I think we haven’t been able to do since my first year here.”
As the first quarter progressed further, Baker stretched their lead from 11-2. The game was now starting to get intense.
In the final moments of the first quarter, the women’s basketball team were finally catching up with Baker. Unfortunately, Baker still won the first quarter 26-12.
Senior basketball player, Tessa Ramsay, believes that no matter what the women’s basketball team can beat a nationally ranked team.
“For us to beat a nationally ranked team, that would be really cool and we really think we can,” Ramsay said. “The last few practices, we’ve really focused on ourselves. I think it is a lot of ‘we need to do what is in our control,’ but along with that we always watch film every week and just scout their main plays as a team just to make sure we understand what screens to expect and where they’ll score so we can really chest up in those areas and do our best to keep them as low scoring as possible.”
During the second quarter, Baker took the lead 30-12. The women’s basketball team was in a tough situation, but the girls stayed determined.
Slowly, the women’s basketball team started to become neck-and-neck with Baker settling at 37-28 thanks to Petkova making a three pointer.
Although every teammate has some strong qualities, Ramsay believes that the team could still use some improvement.
“I think our biggest thing is that we all need to get on the same page,” Ramsay said. “We’ve had a lot of people that have transferred in this year and not that many returners, so there’s a lot of people that we need to make sure are buying into what we want to do this year. Once we do come together and we play as a team, we will be unstoppable, we will be that team that people, you know, set out to make sure that they beat us and things like that. So, that’s kind of what we need to do.”
When the game went into halftime, Baker held the lead over the women’s basketball team 46-35.
Confidence and motivation isn’t easy. Be that as it may, Dixon still has faith in all his players. He believes that they can accomplish anything with the right mindset.
“That’s the key to everything,” Dixon said. “If they can understand it, it’ll lead to confidence and success for them. A lot of the motivation has to come from them. Leadership really comes from teammates and motivation comes from teammates and not necessarily from coaches. Coaches can show them the way, but the players and their teammates all have to get together to find that way.”
In the opening minutes of the third quarter, the women’s basketball team cut most of their deficit resulting the score with 47-39. So far, the third quarter had become the most intense quarter unlike the first or second.
As Baker kept taking the lead, the women’s basketball team kept coming back more determined than they were before.
Eventually, Baker made a run over with a 12-0 set causing them to be in the lead with 60-39 against the women’s basketball team and won the third quarter.
In the fourth and final quarter, Baker went into a 64-44 lead. The women’s basketball team struggled to earn more points during this last quarter. However, once again Baker came out on top.
Baker won all three quarters resulting in the final scoreboard being 91-53. The women’s basketball team had been defeated.
Although the women’s basketball team may have lost, according to coach Dixon this has been “off to the best start in school history.”