by Tiffany Stubbs
The men’s and women’s basketball teams both had successful 2015-2016 seasons. After almost six months of hard work and dedication, the season has finally come an end after some very big successes for both teams.
After losing in the regular season conference championship to the College of St. Scholastica, the Eagles finished the regular season with a 20-5 overall record and 12-4 mark in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC). Northwestern locked up the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Heading into the tournament, the men were determined and experienced. To advance to the NCAA tournament for the sixth straight year in a row, they played flawlessly and beat the No. 1 seeded St. Scholastica on Scholastica’s home floor 93-70.
In the NCAA tournament, the Eagles lost to the No. 7 seeded St. Norbert 77-58. The Eagles fought hard the whole game but came up short in the end.
Three Eagles were named to the UMAC All-Conference team. Senior Michael Carney was named 1st team, Senior Kyle Ooms was named 2nd team, and Junior Cody Sprenger was named honorable mention. Four players made the NCCAA All-Region team: Carney and Ooms made 1st team, and Sprenger and fellow junior Porter Morrell received honorable mention honors.
Northwestern will say goodbye to Carney and Ooms, both four-year players for head coach Tim Grosz. These two outstanding players helped the Eagles make four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and were key ingredients in last year’s Cinderella run. Carney finished second all-time on Northwestern’s career made three-pointers list, while Ooms grabbed over 500 career boards.
The Eagles end the season 22-6, which is the highest winning percentage a Northwestern squad has finished with in program history.
Carney said, “Basketball has prepared me for the ups and downs of life. It has given me the chance to grow as a man of God and have people that have cared about me and poured into me for four years.”
The women’s team also lost the regular season conference championship. The University of Wisconsin- Superior joined the conference this season and dominated. The Eagles played them three times, the final time being in the conference tournament championship to go to the NCAA tournament, and the Eagles came up short 34-58.
The Eagles qualified for the NCCAA tournament in Winona Lake, Ind. They beat Judson University to head to Indiana the week after spring break. At the national Christian college Division I tournament, the Eagles played phenomenally and placed fourth.
Three Eagles were named to All-Conference: Sophomore Amy Berglund made 1st team, Senior Regan Cooper made 2nd team, and Sophomore Jessica Cole made honorable mention. Berglund was also named to the All-Defensive Team.
Three players were also named to the NCCAA All-Region Team: Berglund was recognized as the Player of the Year, as well as received NCCAA 2nd team All American honors while at the tournament, and Cooper was named to 1st team. Junior Tiffany Stubbs, after missing half the season with an injury, was named honorable mention. For the second straight year, Coach Aaron Kahl earned the Coach of the Year honor. The Eagles end their season 23-8 – the most wins in a season during Coach Kahl’s six-year tenure. The 23 victories also tie for the second-most wins in a season in program history.
Seniors Regan Cooper, Kim Campbell and Courtney Cunard played key roles in this year’s and past year’s successes, and they will be greatly missed.
Cooper said, “UNW basketball has taught me to have freedom in life and be exactly who God made me to be. It has shown me how to love and be loved. It has given me the opportunity to shine Christ’s love through the talents he has blessed me with.”
Moving forward, the women’s and men’s teams will both be heading out of the country in May to compete and do missions work. The women are traveling to the Dominican Republic, and the men will be headed to Spain.