Postseason on the horizon for Women’s basketball

Women’s basketball peaking as postseason play approaches

Ariana Birondo

Sitting at 15-5 in NSIC play and 20-7 overall, the women’s basketball team has high expectations.

The Vikings’ 74-72 overtime win over the University of Sioux Falls Friday and their 20th win of the season over SMSU Saturday may marked their sixth and seventh win in their last eight games.

The team is gearing up for its last two regular season games against Winona State, Friday, and Upper Iowa, Saturday, both at home.

Assistant coach Mark Stavenger knows the final weekend will be exciting, but the hard part isn’t over yet.

“As the year has gone on, our expectations have not really changed,” he said. “We have an opportunity if we play well this weekend to win the south division and put ourselves in a good place heading into the conference tournament.”

Sydney RomeLast season, the team made it to the final game in the conference tournament but lost 75-57 to USF. Since then, the team has used that as an incentive to carry them through the season.

Junior guard Logan O’Farrell said losing that game “was tough to swallow,” coming that close to a championship.

“I think for many of my teammates, that gave us something to fight for this season,” she said. “Although I just like to think about one game at a time, and for now, that’s finishing the regular season strong.”

Her statement held true over the weekend while the Vikings battled it out in overtime with USF.

Sophomore center Shelby Selland scored a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds, O’Farrell posted her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Senior guard Sydney Rome added 17 points, including three makes in five attempts from the  three-point line.

“The only expectations that my team sets for one another is that each player gives all that they have,” said O’Farrell.

With back-to-back road games, it would have been easy for the team to lose some steam, but the Vikings came back to win against SMSU 68-57.

Nine different players scored against SMSU. Rome scored eight points and grabbed five boards, while O’Farrell shot 4-4 behind the arc. The win moved the Vikings into a tie for first in the NSIC South with Winona State, making Friday’s game an absolute showdown.

“As a team, we are hoping to not only get two wins, but two good wins,” Rome said. “This is the time of year when we should be playing our best basketball, and I think we are capable of that.”

Two things are riding on these games: the chance to win the south division, but also the chance to find redemption in the postseason. With two solid opponents coming to Sioux Falls this weekend, anything can happen.

“We hope we play well and with lots of energy and focus,” Stavenger said. “The players know what is at stake and that we have a chance to do something special in winning the south division with a coupe of wins.”

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