Adversity-filled season offered lessons

Joseph Dorschel, Sports Editor

On Feb. 22, the WolfPack women’s basketball team had their postseason come to an abrupt end when they fell to the College of DuPage Chaparrals 54-68 in the quarterfinals of the Regional tournament.

Capping off a season rife with injury, the WolfPack finished with an overall record of 14 wins and 15 losses. In conference play, the team had a record of 8-6.

Heading into the postseason, the WolfPack had previously beaten the Chaparrals twice, with one of those wins coming just one week prior to the quarterfinal.

Coach Jessica Pelzel attributed a lack of effort to the loss, which she said was a surprise for her. The WolfPack was the higher seeded team going into the postseason.

“DuPage came ready to play. We didn’t have the right level of effort. During the season, that effort was not a factor. It was never an issue,” Pelzel said.

Although the season didn’t end as anticipated, Pelzel is optimistic looking forward.

“With the kids we got coming in, it will be a whole new look. It will be interesting to see how they mesh,” Pelzel said.

Seven of the 13 players on the current roster will not be returning next season.

Throughout the season the team faced several challenges. With injuries to several starters, bench players began to see more playing time. Although the team had to deal with a lot of adversity, she believes the players who weren’t hurt did well, according to Pelzel. While she believes they fulfilled their roles, they also took more playing time, and were successful with the opportunity.

With the off-season ahead, the coaching staff has scheduled individual meetings with returning players. They have constructed plans for weight training and recommended shooting workouts.

“We give them the tools (during the off-season), it’s up to them to finish,” Pelzel said.

The players also fill out a coach evaluation, aimed at helping the coaching staff figure out what works for the players and what they could potentially do differently.

The staff will use the evaluations to hopefully change and make practices better. While some things will change, such as adding new plays, other things will stay the same regardless of player input.

“Some things players will like, some things players will hate, but they will benefit from both,” Pelzel said.

Although more than half of the team won’t return next season, Pelzel believes that the group can be competitive next season.

“We have a good nucleus. These players dealt with adversity. The coaches did too. You take that away as a growing point. Dealing with adversity will make us better down the road,” Pelzel said.

According to Pelzel, the goal for next season will be to play competitively on a local and national spotlight, go to the national tournament, and win a national championship.