The shooting percentage took a positive turn for the Webster University women’s basketball team. In the Gorloks’ first three games of the season, they shot 33.3 from the floor. However, in a 73-63 win over Augustana College (Ill.) on Saturday, Nov. 24, the Gorloks managed to shoot 52 percent to improve to a 2-2 overall record.
Senior guard Gwen Williams set a new career high, scoring 25 points Saturday. Williams currently leads the Gorloks with 13.2 points per game (ppg). She also led the team with six steals in the game.
This was not the first time Williams has taken advantage of Augustana. In an 8-point loss to the Vikings last season, Williams put up her previous career high, 19 points, and forced five steals.
“This came from just working hard,” Williams said. “Everyone has been so hard on me with defense and offense and mentality. And my teammates have been telling me I can do basically anything I think I can do.”
Williams said she started to see the court differently and was able to finally show those improvements by driving to the basket.
“She got steals — she pushed the tempo,” coach Jordan Olufson said. “A lot of times, in the first few games, she would be a little hesitant going to the cup. But for whatever reason she just went to the cup and got to the free throw line. Gwen is the type of player that can do that night in and night out.”
To start the season, Olufson believed his team was underperforming in its shooting percentage of 33 percent. Saturday, the Gorloks turned around the shooting because the team has now “intensified,” Olufson said.
“I always tell them that at some point you’re going to hate for me to keep talking about it and you’re just going to do it. And I think that’s what’s starting to happening,” Olufson said. “They are understanding that for us to be successful that we have to create our own energy and intensity, and they’re starting to get it.”
Webster may have lost a tall piece of the puzzle during the game against Augustana. Sophomore center/forward Cassie Endicott had to leave the game late in the second half with an ankle injury. Olufson said on Tuesday, Nov. 27 Endicott’s ankle could not yet be X-rayed because of the amount of swelling.
Endicott is now the second player on Webster’s roster over six feet tall to be injured. Freshman forward/center Kelsy O’Neill (6’2”) hasn’t yet seen the court this season.
O’Neill said she didn’t feel pain in her right ankle, but after noticing bruising and swelling, she was told she partially tore her right peroneal tendon. On Thursday, Nov. 29 she will see a personal doctor. O’Neill hopes to be back on the court by next week.
Conference competition begins
Hoping to make it two wins in a row, Webster hosts Blackburn College (Ill.) to start off its St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule.
Last season, Webster was 2-0 against Blackburn and trampled the Beavers by 20 points at home.
The SLIAC preseason poll has Webster in a tie for fourth with Fontbonne University (Mo.), Eureka College (Ill.), Westminster College (Mo.) and Spalding University (Ky.).
Guard Caty Eeten may not only lead her team, the Eureka Red Devils, but also the conference. She was selected to the D3Hoops.com preseason All-American team. Eeten has averaged 21 points per game, currently third best in the SLIAC.
Endicott believes this is just a chance for the team to surprise a lot of people. She expects to be first in the conference and advance to the NCAA tournament.
“Even though they have the preseason All-American, we’re not going to let that change how we think we’re going to play against them,” Endicott said. “We still think we’re going beat them.”
If not for Spalding’s inability to play in the conference tournament due to its exploratory NCAA status last year, Webster’s season would have been cut short. The Gorloks finished fifth behind the Golden Eagles in 2011-2012.
Returning two First Team All-Conference award winners, Spalding coach Charlie Just said his team has a new and excited feeling this year with the possibility of postseason play.
Olufson said he is looking forward to playing more meaningful games in conference this season.
“I don’t think it is going to be the traditional top four,” Olufson said. “That makes the season better. A lot of times you go play a team that maybe they have no chance and they’re not playing for anything. And it’s hard to get a team up for that kind of game. I’m looking forward to more games being meaningful.”
Olufson said his team does feel a little disrespected by the No. 4 seed. He said he asks his players, “What are you going to do about it?”