The University of Dallas women’s basketball team made it to the SCAC Championship Tournament after a full season for the first time since 2015. It is quite the accomplishment considering how young the team is with 10 freshmen. Despite that, the Crusaders only competed in one playoff game, these ladies have proved their capabilities and set the foundation for the next years to come.
The SCAC tournament itself has a very fun and exciting atmosphere and this one specifically offered the athletes a different experience because of injured teammates.
Maria Cordero, freshman biology major and #1, said: “[The tournament] was very intense and interesting because one of our leaders in rebounding was out. She’s hurt so it was really interesting to see our team play without her.”
Cordero continued: “I think we started off kind of slow, eventually we did pick it up and we began to play very aggressively and well. We did end up losing but I think it was a learning experience overall.”
From this experience, the team will be able to improve overall and as individuals. The Crusaders were only knocked out of the quarterfinals by Texas Lutheran University by nine points. Defense and communication are the two aspects in which the team hopes to improve for next season.
Nora Aigberadion, freshman biology major and #23, said: “As a team, we probably need to work more on communication. I think that our coach said that almost every single practice and we still didn’t do it. That was our number one thing honestly, communication.”
The women’s basketball team’s goal for next season is to continue to make it to the SCAC tournament again and this time compete even stronger.
Ashley Hall, freshman biology major and #15, said: “We can definitely improve how we played in conference because we definitely can beat most of our conference. So having more wins and getting farther in the tournament.”
To achieve this goal there are some steps that must be taken to progress, especially the small details. Cordero said, “I know working harder improving on little things that you need to improve on, like shooting accuracy and defense.”
When asked about the season overall, the players were very enthusiastic about the progress they made throughout the season.
Hall said, “I thought we had a decently successful season especially having a lot of freshmen on the team and we definitely came together a lot more towards the end of the season building the team chemistry and everything.”
This year’s team not only reached their goal of competing in the SCAC tournament but they also broke the record for most won games during the conference season for the first time in ten years.
In preparation for future seasons, the upperclassmen and returning players prepped the freshmen to take over and lead.
Cordero said: “We were kind of rebuilding our program and so it was really interesting to see the returners be leaders and kind of encourage the freshmen into becoming leaders as well. It was a really cool dynamic that we had.”
The players bonded over their bus rides and shared experiences, drawing them closer together, and deepening their connection as a team. Aigberadion’s favorite memory of the season was visiting a carnival during a tournament weekend.
“I remember at the Webster tournament, we went to the hotel and across from the hotel there was this carnival area,” Aigberadion said. “We went on the carousel, and then we went on this really big Ferris Wheel. It was just really fun, especially early in the season that we got to do that.”
These women will continue to prepare for next season and hopefully exceed expectations in the upcoming SCAC tournament. In a team with mostly freshmen and strong upperclassmen, they have plenty of time to grow as well as to lead in their next year’s season.