Yeowomen Stun and Confuse NCAC
The last time the Oberlin women’s basketball team earned a fifth-place finish in the North Coast Athletic Conference was during its 1998-1999 season. Almost a decade later, the players hope to achieve this feat again.
Led by Head Coach Christa Champion, the Yeowomen are currently tied with the College of Wooster for sixth place with a 3-7 record in the NCAC. The team won three of their past four games, and it looks to defeat Wooster and Denison University this weekend. “This is going to be a big weekend for us. We have two home games, back-to-back [Friday and Saturday]. It’s the second back-to-back this season,” said Champion.
On Saturday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Oberlin’s game versus Denison will be “senior night because it is the last home game of the season, and it’s the big rematch against Denison,” said Champion.
The Yeowomen face off against Wooster the night before, Friday, Feb. 8. “Wooster is a key rematch. This is the first game we started to play really well in back in December,” said Champion. “We had a 10-point lead, blew it, got behind by 17 [points] and lost by three. It was the first game where we really hit our stride, and everyone knows we can get them.”
First-year guard Katie Thompson said, “Both teams we have already played, so we know what we need to do to win. We need to play hard and go into the game with the mindset that we can win because these are really important games. We need to play hard all 40 minutes.”
Champion notes that the team has developed greatly since the season’s start. She said, “What we have done best this year is continually improve and grow stronger as individuals and as a team.”
These athletes have progressed in a variety of aspects on the court. According to Champion, “dealing with ball pressure, converting to defense, executing offense, and helping each other get good shots” were among these improvements. She also said that enhanced court awareness — the ability to know where the shooter is before playing the ball — contributed to their successful shooting. Thompson noted communication is something that has been improved upon as well.
However, Champion notes that Oberlin still has some work to do. She said, “We need to score more points and we need to cut down on turnovers. There are between four and 14 unforced turnovers in any game. If we can get rid of an average of ten of those, with 40 percent as the team’s shooting average, that could give us eight more points per game,” she said.
Thompson agrees that the team needs to score more points. She said that they still need to “finish more on offense, and that includes rebounds, going after our shots and being more aggressive on offense. Our ultimate goal is scoring more points. I mean we’re already good at stopping people. We just need to score more.”
Right now, the team is focusing on the present. “If you asked me a few days ago what the most important game of the season would be, I would have said Earlham,” said Champion. “We beat them.”
The score of that game was 70-64. Sophomore Alicia Smith led scoring with 26 points. Junior Alyssa Clark and senior Roneisha Kinney scored 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Champion said that every game for the remainder of the season is the team’s most important game, but for now, “we just focus on one at a time.”