May 28, 2017

Women’s basketball in position for playoffs

After two losing seasons, Webster University’s women’s basketball team is on the verge of a playoff spot.

In the past week, the Gorloks had a blowout win followed by two close losses.

The Gorloks tied a single game points record during their 106-69 win against MacMurray College Jan. 16. The team made 49.3 percent of their shots with Jaysea Morgan leading the team with 19 points.

Head women’s basketball coach Jordan Olufsen said the team started well and everything clicked against MacMurray College.

“We had really high energy on Monday, coming off a game that was cancelled Saturday with the weather,” Olufsen said. “Anytime you go on the road, you are always kind of nervous on how you are going to play.”

Junior forward Aley Lucas  credits the defensive effort and the team’s willingness to share the ball in the win against MacMurray College.

“We extended the lead by pushing and running the ball against Mac,” Lucas said. “There was a lot of energy on the bench to make the players on the floor have a lot of energy. Every Lady Gorlok contributed to this win.”

The losses against Fontbonne and Greenville were narrow defeats. The Gorloks lost by four points to Fontbonne on Jan. 18 and five points to Greenville Jan. 21.

Junior guard Kelsey Miller said the team let these two games slip away.

“We had opportunities to win both, but we didn’t capitalize on them,” Miller said. “Say we’re struggling at the free throw line right now, and we can’t live or die from the line, so we really need to start focusing on that.”

Olufsen said the team did not have the same energy against Fontbonne that they had against MacMurray College. He said the team has been working hard in practice to become more consistent in games.

“We’re at the point now on the conference that we have already played everyone,” Olufsen said. “So now everyone’s going to see us for a second time, and they will adapt. We got to adjust too.”

The Gorloks are currently in fifth place in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) with a 5-4 conference record. Including non-conference games, the Gorloks are 12-5.

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Photo Credit: Austin Ratanasitee

The Gorloks rank first in the SLIAC with 17.8 steals per game. They also rank third with 2.5 blocks per game.

“We got such a great defensive team,” Olufsen said. “We are either first or second in the country in forced turnovers. That is a thing that has contributed to our team.”

Olufsen said Meagan Brandt and Miller are among the best defenders on the team. He added that Aley Lucas, Taylor Lucas and Jade Sawyer are also among the best defensive players on the team.

Olufsen said the team has a lot of depth and there is no drop off when the team makes substitutions.

“Sometimes we will sub and get better defensively,” Olufsen said. “Sometimes we will sub and get better offensively. I think it just wears on teams.”

Miller said the freshmen and transfers have given the team a lot of minutes and have taken on key roles this year. Among the newcomers include Morgan, Sawyer  and Ebony Miller.

“Everyone has done a good job of accepting their roles and doing their best to fulfill them,” Miller said.

Aley said the team has been working really hard in practice and has developed good team chemistry.

“We have great coaches that prepare us for games and challenges us in practice,” Aley said. “The biggest part of our success is that we all believe we can be successful.”

The Gorloks are a half game outside the tournament picture as of Jan. 25. At 13-5, they are ahead of the pace of the past two seasons, which both ended in losing records.

From here on out, Olufsen said that every game is important for the Gorloks, especially the upcoming home game against Westminster.

“We have got to make sure to take it one game at a time and focus on what we can do,” Olufsen said. “Play the best we can.”

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