February 25, 2014
This weekend, our Lady Warhawks were able to remain undefeated and thus finish the season with a flawless 13-0 intercollegiate record. This means that the team will head into the National Championship tournament as #1 next week. The men's team was also successful winning all games but one, finishing the regular season with a 19-2 record with their only losses being to the University of Texas-Arlington and thus securing the #2 spot heading into the National Championships.
After a long day on the bus and a late 3 a.m. arrival in Alabama on Friday, the women's team started play for the Warhawks by taking on the University of Illinois at 1 p.m. Becca Murray led the team with strong shooting to start the game but throughout the game all four of our Paralympic athletes showed their excellence and scored in double figures. Especially after a three point shot made by Desiree Miller, the team could take a large lead over Illinois. After 40 minutes, the team achieved a 65-45 win.
|PHOTO: Derrick Bisnett dribbling in a game against the University of Illinois. Photo courtesy UW-Whitewater/Craig Schreiner|
Next up, the men's team tipped off its game against the University of Texas-Arlington. Until this game, the serious between the two games was 1-1 and thus this game was to determine who would head into Nationals as the top team. While UTA led the game most of the time, the Warhawks did not allow them to pull away and regularly tied the game. At the half, UTA had a small 38-36 lead. Both teams relied on a very balanced attack and very quick defensive rotations. Our Warhawks demonstrated their strong shooting with a good 57% from the field in the first half. However, getting closer towards the ends the team couldn't get its shot to fall anymore while UTA seemed not to be able to miss leading to 69-79 loss in the end.
Later at night, our women faced their opponent from Alabama, also fighting for the #1 seed. Having won the last matchup between these two teams, our Lady Warhawks knew what to do and utilized their height, having Mariska Beijer and Mareike Adermann score the team's first 10 points. Once Alabama adjusted, Desiree Miller and Becca Murray added their strong outside shooting to the offensive power and thus did not give Alabama a chance to stop their scoring. On the defensive end, the team forced difficult shots over and over while also grabbing five steals within the first half combining to a 39-27 lead. Confident with the lead, the team continuously outworked Alabama more and more, leading by as much as 27 points (70-43 with 7:50 min left in the game). Finally the Warhawks win 82-63, securing the highest rank to finish the regular season.
Last for the day, our men took on the host, Alabama, as well. Motivated by wanting to make up for the pervious loss, the team didn't let any doubts come across about who the stronger team in this matchup. At the half, the team already led 43-25. With continuously strong shooting of 63% in the second half, the team secured the win at a score of 82-45. Once again, the team was led in scoring by Senior Jake Williams (27points), Freshman Dylan Fischbach (25 points) and Derrick Bisnett (14 points). Ben Kenyon added 100% shooting from the field as a well as 8 assists and 2 steals in a game that allowed all 13 athletes to get some court time.
On Saturday, we experienced some mechanical issues with our bus, so the men's team received help from their opponent - the University of Missouri - by getting picked up by their bus. However, the team did not let this trouble translate into the game as once again, a strong first half secured a large 39-23 lead. Derrick Bisnett made his presence felt by the opponent as he scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
|PHOTO: Lydia Sprain guarding Helen Freeman from the University of Illinois. Photo courtesy UW-Whitewater/Craig Schreiner|
The women's team enjoyed a long relaxing morning at the mall as the team from Arizona had not been able to travel to the tournament as planned due to the weather. At 3.15 p.m. it was time for the Lady Warhawks' last game against the University of Texas-Arlington. After a quick 20-0 lead, head coach Dan Price decided to use the game to give the less experienced players some time to take on responsibilities. Sensing their chance, UTA's athletes picked up their intensity and caught back to a 37-22 half time score. After the half time, the Lady Warhawks couldn't find their usual flow, leading to several turnovers and missed shots allowing UTA to not only tie but lead the game 40-39 with 10:40 minutes to go. However, a timeout and Mariska Beijer entering the game again, allowed the players to return to their usual strengths and pull away to a final 57-46 win. Jillian Host and Mariska Beijer led all scorers with 16 points each, trailed by Mareike Adermann with 10 and Yarden Hershko with 6 points.
As the last game of the weekend and regular season, our men faced off against the University of Illinois. The usual rivalry began in a close game until after a score of 10-10, the Warhawks started falling behind. Illinois' Nik Goncin ran hot and made 3 three point shots and a total of 11 points within only two minutes to give Illinois a sudden 27-16 lead. However, our Warhawks knew it was still early in the game and continued working hard to catch up. Strong shooting by Jake Williams (20 points within the first half) and Dylan Fischbach allowed the team to be up 37-36 at the half. In the second half, the game lead was changed 15 times as both teams were fighting hard to win. In the end, the Warhawks defensive effort and strong shooting once again allowed the team to pull away to a 76-68 win.
Both teams will enjoy a weekend at home before heading to the 2014 National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament crowning the nation's top teams. For a detailed schedule and brackets for this trip, check out this document:
2014 NIWBT schedule and bracket