NCU’s women’s basketball faced off with Nebraska Wesleyan for a home game on Friday November 17th. Photo by Ericka Sura.
The team’s response shows positivity for the remainder of the season
During a Nov. 8 exhibition game against St. Catherine University, hosted by North Central to raise funds for hurricane relief, sophomore captain Annabel Morrisroe broke her tibula, an injury which required season-ending surgery.
“Losing Annabel was a huge blow for us,” head coach Paul Brunner said in an email. “But I have loved my team’s response. I believe Annabel is the best post player in our conference.”
Morrisroe averaged 15.5 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game in her freshman season. She led the UMAC conference in rebounding, with the player following her lead averaging 9.9 rebounds per game.
Following Morrisroe’s injury, senior captain Lizzy Swanson faced injury to her hamstring. Though her recovery time is a few weeks, the Rams will miss the 2016-17 UMAC scoring leader. Swanson averaged 19.6 points per game.
Players have stepped up to help contribute to the missing gap. Brunner spoke of the team’s humility, selflessness and understanding that no player is “bigger than the team.”
“Every player has stood out to me in one way or another,” Brunner said. “Each player will play an important role for us this season and having players embrace these roles will play a big factor in how well we play.”
Just over 75 percent of the women’s basketball team is new to North Central and the atmosphere of Division III basketball. They have jumped into the #AllIn mentality that Brunner has grounded as the team’s motto.
Brunner has established four pillars for the team: faith, family, future and basketball. He wants the players to be “all-in” with their actions and words as they apply the pillars in their lives. Swanson, Morrisroe and senior Haley Modahl are the only three returners on the team. They are modeling the pillars to the rest of the team.
“Being great teammates, friends and keeping each other accountable is what helps this program succeed,” Swanson said in an email.
Brunner says that he expects his team to exemplify love, care, service and to glorify the Lord in all that they do. Academics are also important to the team’s success.
“My expectation is that we never settle for anything other than our best, both on and off the court,” Brunner said.
The Rams use step-by-step actions to take on their goals. The leadership of the three returners has helped the team. The new players are eager to learn and become students of the game. This mentality is important to the Rams as they faced two major injuries to the team.
Brunner is using the non-conference games as preparation for conference matchups. He expects his players to make the hustle plays, compete during every single possession and play together.
The Rams are 2-2 this season, with wins against Oak Hills Christian and Illinois Tech. Senior Haley Modahl is the leading scorer, averaging 13.3 points per game. Freshman Alexandria Lindsay is averaging 5.3 rebounds per game, leading the team.
“Our goal is to go 1-0 every game,” Brunner said. “It is to fall in love with the process and get better every day.”