Women’s basketball stands tall in MVC

By Mark Larsen 2003

Using sting half-court defense and opportune offense, the Tiger women’s basketball team picked up two Mississippi Valley Conference victories before dropping a non-conference contest at Decorah.

After defeating conference foe Cedar Rapids Washington in thrilling fashion by a score of 48-46, the Tigers (3-2) used stingy half court defense to outlast Dubuque Senior by a score of 40-31 last Friday night.

The win over Senior got the Tigers off to a 3-1 start in Mississippi Valley Conference play, with the lone setback coming at the hands of Cedar Rapids Xavier, who is expected to be among the league’s elite.

Led by 18 points from senior Jenny Hutchison and 14 more from senior center Jill Minkel, the Tigers outlasted Washington in a see-saw battle with Hutchison’s late three-pointer proving to be the difference.

Despite struggling offensively on Friday, the Tigers relied on their defense and were able to answer every run in their victory over Dubuque Senior. Hutchison led the way for the Tigers with 13 points.

“Any time you can get two conference wins in one week, it’s always huge,” Minkel said.

Offensively, the Tigers have been led by Hutchison who is scoring around 12 points per game.

Minkel and senior Whitney Lang have provided solid play inside, while senior Janelle Laudick and junior Jenny Winder round out a balanced starting lineup on the perimeter.

With Hutchison, Minkel, Laudick and Winder being the only regulars returning to the squad from last year, coach Dan List’s Tigers have had to overcome inexperience in the early going.

Fortunately, the Tigers possess quality depth, with senior Emily Vorland, juniors Danielle Barkema, Kaci Hanson and Danielle Goetz, and freshman guard Kristin Iehl all logging quality minutes off of the bench.

“Our depth off of the bench has helped a lot; we have a lot of girls who can play good minutes for us,” Winder said.

On Friday, the Tigers will travel to Waterloo West where they will renew their storied metro rivalry with the Wahawks.

Led by senior Keanna Levy, one of the state’s top players, the Wahawks are currently undefeated and are ranked second in the state.

The rivalry between Cedar Falls and West has been one of the best in the state for the past decade.

Some of the state’s all-time elite players, such as former Tigers Randi and Ellie Peterson and Amy Swisher and West’s Nina Smith have added significantly to the quality of the rivalry.

Last year, the Tigers split the season series with the Wahawks in thrilling fashion.

The Wahawks lost in the state final to Ankeny, who eliminated the Tigers in postseason play.

While the Tigers sport many new faces, the intensity of the rivalry with West is still the same.

“Obviously, the West game is one of the biggest games of the season, and one that we definitely look forward to,” Hutchison said.

“One of the main goals at the start of every seeason is to beat West,” Winder said of the rivalry. “Throughout the years, we’ve had so many good games with them.”

Last night, the Tigers played host to a quality Cedar Rapids Jefferson team. The contest was decided after the Tiger Hi-Line went to print.

After the Tigers’ game at West’s Bob Siddens Gymnasium, the Tigers will take a break from competition over Christmas break before returning to action against conference foe Dubuque Hempstead.

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