RiverHawks women’s basketball season review
TNE Editor

RiverHawks women’s basketball season review

Published 3/5/18

Jesse Crittenden

TNE Writer

The RiverHawks women’s basketball team may not have accomplished all of its goals, but the team has many reasons to be proud of their season.

The team finished with a 10-17 record, including a 6-13 conference record, and earned a spot in the MIAA postseason tournament. Despite defeating Emporia State just four days prior, the Hornets defeated the RiverHawks in the opening round of the tournament to end their season, 72-62.

However, Fala Bullock, NSU women’s basketball head coach, considers her first season at the helm a tremendous success considering the circumstances.

“We introduced a new system, a new coach, new players, and a new staff,” said Bullock. “I was really proud of the way all of the players handled it and I think we have a lot to be proud of.”

The RiverHawks overcame several obstacles during the season, primarily injuries. Destiny Strange, senior forward from Arlington, TX, started the first eight games of the season before sitting out the rest of the season due to an injury suffered against the University of Central Oklahoma on Dec. 5. Kylie Looney, junior guard from Adair, tore her hamstring before the season started and did not play a single game. Cenia Hayes, freshman from Sequoyah, started 14 games for the RiverHawks but missed five games due to a concussion.

For Bailee Eldred, junior forward from Sulphur, the injuries do not take away from the success of this season.

“Despite the injuries, I think the NSU women’s basketball program took a huge step in the right direction,” said Eldred. “We won ten games this season and we all believe we should have won far more than that. We battled the entire season, every game, and every practice. I think the team really bought in and we achieved making it to the conference tournament.”

Compared to last season, the RiverHawks made progress in almost every area. They improved their win total and conference record by four wins, and they qualified for the MIAA postseason tournament. Bullock believes this season established an important building block for next season.

“We never really just got blown out. We were competing in every game and with every team,” said Bullock. “To see that progress is really exciting. We’re excited about the direction we’re going in and we have a lot of lessons to learn from this year.”

Looney, who started 24 games for the RiverHawks last season, is excited about the way the team played this year and is anxious to finish her rehabbing and get back on the floor.

“I think just watching this team from last year to this year, we were a more collective unit and we played for each other,” said Looney. “It was really tough to not be on the floor with my teammates, but I know we have a lot to build on and we’ll be better next year.”

The team graduates just three players from this year’s squad, with most of the players set to return next season. They will have five seniors next season, which will add to the depth and experience of the team.

“The returning players should level up this spring and next fall because they’ve seen how tough it is to play at this level,” said Bullock. “I have all of the confidence that everybody will only improve and get better.”

There are several goals the team has set for themselves next year. They want to win a conference championship, host a playoff game, and earn a birth at the national tournament in Kansas City.

However, Bullock and all of the players on the team share the ultimate goal of a national championship, and they have the confidence that they can obtain it.

“Next year will be our redemption year,” said Joi Bertrand, junior from Long Beach. “We’re definitely coming for a ring.”

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