Category Archives: Women’s Basketball

Dominating seasons end for men in NCAAs, women in NCCAA’s

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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.

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Cousin duo brings family and hot shooting to the court

by Shelby Eden

Cousins Clay Elrod and Jessica Cole average just around 20 minutes per game for their respective teams, but the two guards waste no time in putting the ball in the hoop, as they both average in double figures in scoring and are among their team’s leaders in three-point shots made.

College is not the first time Elrod and Cole have shared basketball memories and success together. With both of their families originally living just outside of Des Moines, Iowa, Cole and Elrod grew up playing basketball together at their grandma and grandpa Elrod’s home or at the Cole family’s outdoor court.

Cole (3) lays the ball in near teammates Taryn Tumbleson (22) and Courtney Cunard (34) (photo by Hannah Beebe).

Cole (3) lays the ball in near teammates Taryn Tumbleson (22) and Courtney Cunard (34) (photo by Hannah Beebe).

“We would always scrimmage out on the court between the families and with each other,” said Cole. “We would play outside on late summer nights with a light shining on the court.”

Elrod added, “Growing up, we played basketball all the time together. We would always play 3-on-3 with the cousins and would be outside shooting hoops almost every day together.”

Elrod and Cole have taken what they learned as kids on the cement court in Iowa to the hardwood of Northwestern where they are making themselves known. Although neither of the cousins has been regular starters for their teams, they both bring a shooting spark off the Eagle bench. Elrod, a six-foot, six-inch guard with the ability to hit three pointers and finish baskets at the rim is currently averaging 10.9 points per game.

Cole is hitting 11 points per game with 30 total three-pointers, which ranks her second on the team in both categories. On top of that, she’s been starting the past few games for the Eagles due to Tiffany Stubbs’ injury.

There is no shortage of athletes and especially basketball players in either family. Elrod’s dad, Tim Elrod, is the current director of alumni relations at Northwestern as well as a former Eagle basketball player. Elrod’s three younger siblings are also avid hoopers. For the Cole family, both of Jess’s parents played collegiate sports: her mom ran track, and her dad played football. Additionally, two of her three younger brothers play basketball and football at Southeast Polk High School in Iowa.

The Elrod family eventually moved to Elk River, Minnesota, where the cousins have enjoyed bringing their family together over basketball this season. Last year, Elrod played and attended school at Bemidji State University, an NCAA Division II school.

“It’s cool because our families are able to come watch both of us play sometimes, and I see more family this year than I did last year for sure,” said Elrod.

Cole added, “Playing together here is great because our families can come to the games and watch both of us, and our grandparents love it. It’s really special.”

Along with the family involvement comes friendly competition. Currently, the cousins have a contest, which is encouraged by their grandparents, of who can score more points in their respective games. It all started when the Eagles played Martin Luther on Jan. 9, and both Cole and Elrod had their best games of the season.

“Clay started trash talking, and it just went from there; I just was not going to take it,” said Cole.

In a game against Martin Luther College, Elrod hit 22 points in 25 minutes of play, connecting on eight of 12 shots from the field and sinking four three pointers in six attempts while Cole had 19 points in 19 minutes and shot seven of 10 from the field.

Elrod said of the contest, “Yeah, we have that scoring competition between us, but Jess has been winning it lately, so I give her that. But we’ve always grown up competitively, so we’ve always kind of had competitions between us. It’s been kind of fun that we’ve been able to continue that in college as well.”

Elrod (23) shoots a free throw against Northland College (photo by Claire Gronseth).

Elrod (23) shoots a free throw against Northland College (photo by Claire Gronseth).

Along with the competition, Cole and Elrod share a respect for one another’s playing abilities.

“I think that Jess is a great shooter. I love watching her hit the three ball, said Elrod. “I think sometimes she’s got better handles than she thinks she does.  She can really cross people up sometimes, and that’s fun to watch, too.”

“As a player, Clay is confident in his abilities and is a great shooter,” said Cole. She also said with a laugh, “He’s cocky and is into his hair more than anything else.”

The cousins are not the only ones who enjoy having one another at Northwestern. Their respective coaches are also impressed with their basketball abilities and calm demeanors.

“Clay works really hard, but is a laid-back guy as well. He is easy to get along with and puts the team first,” said the head men’s coach, Tim Grosz. “As a player, he’s a very skilled offensive player and can score in a variety of ways. He can shoot and is also very good at driving the ball and finishing at the rim: he’s a sixth starter in that way.”

Aaron Kahl, the head women’s coach, said, “Jess brings a quiet energy to the team. She has a great calmness about her but is also a great competitor with deceptive quickness and a knack for being able to score.”

Elrod’s statistics per game
(through Feb. 6):
Games played- 21
Field goal percentage- .500
3 point field goal percentage- .386
Free throw percentage- .769
Rebounds- 3.5
Assist- 1.0
Steals- .3
Blocks- .2

Cole’s statistics per game
(through Feb. 6):
Games played- 21
Games started- 3
Field goal percentage- .455
3 point field goal percentage- .427
Free throw percentage- .808
Rebounds- 2.2
Assists- 1.3
Steals- 1.5

Athlete Profile: Rachel Hart

by Shelby Eden

12626132_10208702210338138_273732139_nYear: Junior
Major: Social Work
Position: Center
Number: 32

Q: What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
A: My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 9:23-24. It talks about not boasting in the Lord but that you should boast because you know the Lord. When I was in Colorado this summer, I realized that God is huge as I was standing next to mountains and thought, ‘Wow, God is even farther away from me than these mountains, and I can just barely see a glimpse of them.’  That realization gave me more of a desire and a passion to learn more about God.

Q: What is your favorite part of Northwestern?
A: The basketball team. The friends I have made on the basketball team and the community I have been able to experience have just been amazing.”

Q: If you could be any animal, which one would you be?
A: I would be a horse for numerous reasons. 1. They can run really fast. 2. They can help people. 3. They are just really pretty and great animals.

Q: What is your favorite dessert?
A: First off, anything chocolate, but I love to make (homemade) chocolate cherry bars. They are super easy and super delicious.

Q: What is a skill you don’t have that you would really like to have?
A: I would really love to dunk, but other than that, I would like to have more confidence in evangelizing and spreading God’s word and just being more open to where God leads me.

Q: What was your dream job when you were a kid?
A: I wanted to be a ballerina when I was little because I did dance for three years and loved the performances and everybody watching me, but I was frustrated because those only happened once a year, so I moved to basketball where I could perform more.

Q: If you could leave on a vacation today, where would you go?
A: I would go to Colorado. I love that place and the great memories I have from there from last summer. There is just so much to do there.

Q: Who is your biggest role model?
A: The seniors on the basketball team because they are just really great role models for everyone on the team with their hard work and for how much they love everybody.

Eagles ready to continue  strong conference play after break

by Tiffany Stubbs

The women’s basketball team is well into conference play for this season and is having success. After a solid non-conference record of 9-3, the women were feeling confident and excited to play against the teams in the UMAC conference.

Now fully in the middle of conference season, the team’s overall record is 12-4, with the only loss in the conference being to the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Superior just joined the conference for the first time this season, and as of January 25 have beaten every conference team they have played.

Junior Emily VanLith said, “Wisconsin- Superior is a very talented team. We knew this coming into the season because I remember playing against them my freshman year and them coming out on top pretty easily. I was excited for them to join the conference because I enjoy the added competition, but them joining has definitely made our season more difficult than it would have been otherwise.”

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Eagle Women Win Share of UMAC Title

Eagle Women Win Share of UMAC Title

by Megan Ronayne

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BELOW: Jackie Smith (left) and Jackie Foster(right) cheer on their tee mates from the sidelines.

The University of Northwestern Women’s Basketball season is coming to an end with the conference games ahead. The girls have played a tough season and have overcame so many hardships that they’ve come across.

At the beginning of the season the team lost one of their starters, Amy Berglund, due to a knee injury. This forced the entire team to reevaluate and adjust the way they played. Additionally, this required other girls to step up and be challenged. Spending the early season practices with specific starters and then abruptly having to change that mid-season was a struggle for the girls but, they quickly overcame that and began to mesh well as a team.

Last weekend, the Eagles took on the University of Minnesota Morris Cougars in the most important game of the season. If Morris had won, they would clinch the UMAC title, whereas if UNW were victorious they’d also have to win Saturday to take home the conference title. In a defensively focused game, the Eagles came out on top, winning 64-58. The starting posts for the Eagles, Jacki Smith and Reagan Cooper, were extremely effective, combining for 24 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks.

After a quick turnaround, they played Crown College the next day, with a conference title on the line. Trailing by two points at halftime, the Eagles made adjustments and outscored Crown 43-26 in the second half. They were led by senior guard Chanel Madson, who scored 24 points and hit five three-pointers. Another UNW senior, Smith, recorded yet another double-double this season, on 11 points and 13 rebounds.

The team is getting ready for the UMAC conference tournament that takes place this week through the weekend. Tiffany Stubbs, a UNW sophomore, said what they are looking forward to for the games ahead. “We just want to go in focused and ready to play.”

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