Women’s basketball begins quest for national championship
When the women’s basketball team took a heartbreaking loss in last year’s national championship game, the Lady Cobras knew expectations had been set for this season. This doesn’t mean the Cobras are short on challenges this season.
Last year’s NCJAA D-2 Women’s Basketball Player of the Year Hannah Wascher has moved on to southern Indiana and starting point guard Laura Litchfield is now at University of Illinois, Chicago. That leaves head coach Mike Lindeman searching for replacements to keep his fast paced and unrelenting style of play going to fire the Cobras into the championship.
Thankfully Lindeman doesn’t have to look far for skilled talent. Lindeman says sophomores Haley Toohil, Josie Zerrusen, and Lauren Moses are all ready to fill the gaps, as well as a talented freshmen class primed to get good minutes off the bench.
Toohil is especially ready to lead the high powered Cobra offense from the point guard position.
“The practices are going well so far. It’s a learning process for everybody right now. We’re all bonding well,” Toohil said. “Laura was a really good player and I learned a lot playing behind her, so I feel confident in my role,” she added.
“Lauren [Moses] especially learned a lot in how to work the post from being behind the sophomores last year. She’s really taking the position over well. We’re all a lot more comfortable playing aggressively now,” Zeurrusen said.
The Cobras aren’t shying away from the challenges of gelling a new team. The team’s immense success last season led to athletic director Rod Lovett scheduling a tougher non-conference schedule, involving more D1 junior colleges, as well as NCAA junior varsity teams.
“With the harder schedule, we’re focusing on making sure the team chemistry is good, because one player can’t make the team,” Zerrusen said.
“Even with the new schedule, the game that I’m getting ready for is I.C.C. That’s always a big game for the team and last year’s comeback win against them really upped the intensity,” Toohil said.
The team will be measuring their efforts in live play over the weekend. As Lindeman says, the jamboree scrimmages will be coming up and while the scores won’t matter, it will be the first measure for the team.
“We’re going to be able to get the new freshmen some exposure to the competition, as well as get the returning girls up to speed for their roles,” Lindeman said.
“The scrimmages will be the next step to getting used to how the team is going to play together,” Zerrusen said. “It’s definitely exciting to see how the team is going to play against another team.”