A young UW- Eau Claire women’s basketball team wrapped up their 2012-2013 campaign with a first round loss to UW-Stevens Point in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
Though the Blugolds are losing three talented seniors, including the newest member to the 1000 point club, Sarah Bingea, the team will return eight players who played in at least 21 games this season. Junior Courtney Lewis, the team’s leading returning scorer, said it is exciting to have valuable experience returning to the court next season.
“It is always exciting when you have a lot of experience coming back, and now everyone knows what to expect, and also what is expected of us,” Lewis said.
The Blugolds earned the right to look back on the long, grinding season and they also realize they can learn from many of the experiences they encountered. Hustle player and leading returning rebounder sophomore Rachel Egdorf said while they didn’t achieve all their goals, the season had its bright spots.
“A real highlight this year was our win on alumni and senior day over rival UW-Stout,” Egdorf said. “The team really came together as a group and we saw a glimpse of how good we can be if we keep working hard.”
For the Blugolds to make that glimpse of success a reality for next season, the team will need their playmaking freshman point guard Cady Roedl to build off the confidence she gained this season as the team’s floor general.
“The confidence I received from my coaching staff and teammates helped me a lot,” Roedl said.
The Blugolds have a lot to be confident about as they showed at times this year they could hang with any team in the conference. The team found themselves leading at halftime during a home matchup against UW-Stevens-Point and on the road against eventual conference champion UW-Whitewater, although Eau Claire lost both games.
Roedl said the team learned a lot from those narrow defeats.
“Those games showed how we could compete with any team in this conference, and that next year one of our goals is to play hard all 40 minutes of every game,” Roedl said.
With a long offseason now ahead of the Blugolds, the time to improve both their individual and team game is now. It is also a time where leaders must rise to the surface. Lewis said she hopes to fill that void.
“In the offseason I would like to expand my game more, and come back with strong leadership on the court,” Lewis said.
Lewis, Egdorf and Roedl all agree the most focus is on logging a lot of time in the weight room and on the court this offseason. Freshman Teenie Lichtfuss, who averaged 7.4 points per game and played in every game this year, said the team is eager to improve and succeed next season.
“The goal next season is for everyone to come back eager to improve, and to prove that even though we struggled a little this year, that doesn’t define who we are as a team,” Lichtfuss said. “We know we can be great.”