Women’s basketball eliminated in tough NCAA first round

Women’s basketball falls to Simpson University in opening round of NCAA tournament. Sees off 5 graduating seniors.

By Dave Kates

Women’s basketball put up a good fight in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament at Illinois Wesleyan University on Friday, March 5, before losing 66–53 to Simpson College.

The Maroons (19–7) started out strong. “We felt good going into the game,” Head Coach Aaron Roussell said, and in the first five or six minutes “we were in control of everything.”

But the tides quickly turned as the Red Hawks started making their shots and pulled ahead 9–1. From then on the Maroons had to scramble but just could not catch up.

“We got all the shots we wanted, they just didn’t go in,”

Roussell explained. “We missed layups, we missed free throws, we missed open throws!”

He felt that Simpson was a particularly hard match for the Maroons to face. “I think some of their [Simpson’s] strengths were some of the things we struggled with, as far as their zone and their pressure,” Roussell said.

Making it to the NCAAs, however, was an achievement in itself.

“I was so happy for our kids to get to experience this,” he said, “both for our young kids, to get a taste for down the road, and for our seniors; I would have been crushed if the senior class didn’t get a chance to experience this at the end of their year. I’m very thankful for that.”

The night was also a tribute to the team’s five fourth-years, whom the team will be sad to see go:

Kaitlin Devaney, guard; Molly Hackney, forward; Jamie Stinson, guard; Micaela White, guard; and Anna Woods, forward,. They “have been such a good bunch for so long and have been such a mainstay in the program from their entire time here in Chicago,” Roussell said.

“They’ve set some high standards for the returning players next year,” he continued, “and it’ll be a tall task to achieve those.”