Women’s Basketball Soars to Top Three in the NWC

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A hot streak has Boxers at third in the league and high hopes

The Women’s Basketball team had the crowd on the edge of their seats in the last quarter of the game on Friday, February 3, waiting to see if the Boxers would add a ninth game to their win streak. At the start of the final five minutes, the team trailed George Fox University by 17 points. But as the clock continued to count down, the Boxers steadily closed the gap by scoring an additional 15 points. Yet, despite the strong finish, the team dropped the game, and simultaneously broke their win streak. 

   But losing the game has not diminished the team’s spirits nor their hope for the rest of the season. 

   “At the end of the day,” said fifth-year guard Brilie Kovaloff. “It’s basketball.” She added, “You’re going to win some games, you’re going to lose some games. All you can really do is reflect on it to win in the future,” continued Kovaloff. “Coming out of this weekend, our new focus is really for tomorrow. All teams go through slumps, and we did talk about it and talked about how this weekend was our slump, and we all hope we come out stronger because of it.”

   With a series of impressive games under their belt so far this season, odds are looking optimistic for the team’s main goal: Make the NWC tournament. The Boxers won every game played in January, consecutively winning against University of Puget Sound 55-44, George Fox University 69-66, Willamette University 75-64, Pacific Lutheran University 59-44, Linfield University 70-46, Lewis & Clark College 79-55, Whitworth University 74-40, and Whitman College 54-52. Before their winning streak, they had also won against Whitworth University 86-47, and outside of conference play, won their games against UC Santa Cruz 65-56, Concordia University Texas 82-63, Southwestern University 76-61, Chapman University 78-52, and University of Alaska Anchorage 76-75. 

   When asked how this season compared to the previous seasons that she had played with the team, Kovaloff responded that this season was, “averagely above average. Since my freshman year, we’ve pretty consistently finished in at least the top four of the regular season. Which is a complete turnaround from before my freshman year, where Pacific had been in the lower half of the conference. The last two years, we fell short of the championship. This year we have a good chance of finishing first or being co-championships.” 

   While almost all of the members of the team are returning players, many fifth year students who came back for one more season of basketball, making this season a keenly special one. Kovaloff explained: “I think for me this year means just a little bit more, just because I decided to come back for a fifth year, and a lot of my decision had to do with basketball. At least for me, it became a little more important. I didn’t want to come back for nothing, I wanted to come back to help the team win a championship. A lot of us came back with that same goal.” 

   Outside of their performance as a team, this season has also been an impressive one for individual rankings within the NWC. Kovaloff is currently ranked third in the conference for scoring, averaging 15 points per game, and fifth for free throws, with a percentage of .817. Fifth-year forward Alexis Intong is ranked eighth for rebounds, averaging 6.2 per game, and fifth for field goals, with a percentage of .507. Fifth-year guard Rilee Price is ranked first for assists, averaging 3.7, second for an assist/turnover ratio of 2.0, and sixth for steals averaging 2.0. Senior forward Danica Schmidt is eighth for blocked shots, averaging .9. 

   With players finding success within the conference both as a team and individuals, the Boxers are positioned to achieve their goals for the rest of the season; three games still remain in the season, including 6 pm Friday, February 16 against Lewis & Clark, and 4 pm, Saturday against Linfield.


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