With Paralympians and All-Americans on the rosters, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater wheelchair basketball teams muscled to the top of the sport on Saturday. With dominating performances, both the men's and women's teams won national championships, capping a triumphant season.
The women's team (17-3), coached by Dan Price, defeated the University of Alabama 63-34. The victory was that much sweeter considering two of the Warhawks' three regular-season losses came at the hands of the Crimson Tide.
"We learned from those prior games what we needed to do to win," said Price. "We stayed with our game plan, made sure our defense challenged every shot, and kept them out of the paint."
Becca Murray, junior, led all scoring with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Mareike Adermann, junior, added 17 points and had 13 rebounds. Desiree Miller, graduate student, finished with 10 points and four assists.
This is the first national championship for the women's team, now in its fourth year.
"It's such a great accomplishment and our players worked so hard," said Price. "We're extremely proud to represent UW-Whitewater on and off the court. When we started this team in 2008, we set out to do it right - offering our students a top-notch education, and a chance to get better at basketball."
The Warhawk men (21-5), coached by Jeremy Lade, are no strangers at the national championships. Saturday's 101-60 victory over the University of Illinois marked back-to-back titles for UW-Whitewater, and the tenth overall.
"Our guys came in really focused and it set the tone for the weekend," said Lade. "Our goal was to get defensive stops and to keep the ball away from a potent Illinois team."
Ben Kenyon, junior, led all scoring with 35 points. At the end of the first half, he scored more points by himself (27) than the entire Illinois squad (26).
Senior All-Americans Andre Bienek, Chris Okon and Joe Hargrow had strong performances with 23, nine and six points, respectively. Derrick Bisnett, the All-Rookie Team top vote-getter, added 20 points and ten rebounds.
"It's very difficult to win back-to-back championships, especially when you take a few losses throughout the season," Lade said. "We kept playing hard and received tremendous support from the university. Our players really appreciated that."
Desiree Miller - Monroe, Wash.
Sarah Binsfeld - Vadnais Heights, Minn.
Debee Steel - Alton Hampshire, England
Becca Murray - Germantown
Beth DeVault - Easton, Penn.
Jillian Host - Marne, Mich.
Mareike Adermann - Cologne, Germany
Lydia Sprain - Mineral Point
Ashley Kubicz - Whitewater
Coach Dan Price
Ben Kenyon - Minnetonka, Minn.
John Boie - Milton
Shai Ron - Gevaram, Israel
Joe Hargrow - Bulgaden, Ireland
Chris Okon - Mayville
Andre Bienek - Castrop-Tauxel, Germany
Derrick Bisnett - Bismarck, N.D.
Coach Jeremy Lade
All-Americans: Andre Bienek, Chris Okon, Joe Hargrow, Becca Murray, Desiree Miller, Marieke Aderman, Debee Steele
Player of the Year: Becca Murray
Academic All-American (top GPA in the country): Shai Ron
All-Rookie Team (top vote getter): Derrick Bisnett
Paralympians: Desiree Miller, Sarah Binsfeld, Becca Murray, Mareike Adermann, Jeremy Lade, Coach Dan Price
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