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Lady Cougars reflect on the season

The MVNU women's basketball team finished the 2016-17 campaign 12-17 overall and 6-11 in the Crossroads League.

Looking back on the season, Head Coach Amanda Short sees a positive shift in her team that propelled them through the second half of the season.

After starting the first half 5-8, the Lady Cougars travelled to Phoenix, Arizona, to compete in the Arizona Christian University Classic.

Short described the Cougars’ trip to Phoenix as the “turning point of the season.”

The ladies beat Mount Marty, the same team that fell to Marian University in the Final Four last season, 68-45. They also defeated Benedictine at Mesa 77-29.

The Lady Cougars returned with a renewed energy on and off the court.

Short recognizes that there were a few games after Phoenix “where we didn't play to our potential.”

But, that did not stop the Lady Cougars from pushing forward.

Short said her second-half team was not okay with losing. “It shows the growth of our team,” she said.

Senior Megan Beidelman agrees with Short’s outlook on the season.

“This season has been summed up with growth and overcoming adversity,” Beidelman said. “We overcame some losses and have fought back to Crossroads League tournament contention.”

Beidelman scored 12.4 points per game and her 11.3 rebounds per game were the most in the Crossroads League regular season.

After losing six straight conference games, MVNU’s Lady Cougars won five of their last seven.

“We peaked at a great time,” Short said. “Some teams struggle in the second half, but we have played well.”

Short called MVNU’s second-half performance “promising for the future” and said she is excited about the future of the program.

“We saw a lot of good things from underclassmen,” Short said.

Freshman Dani Ellerbrock led MVNU’s newcomers. She averaged 10.6 points per game. According to Ellerbrock, “running the floor and pressure defense” led to MVNU’s success.

Juniors Natalie Carpenter and Sierra Basista also stepped up big for the Lady Cougars this season.

Carpenter led the team in points per game (11.6) and free throw percentage (89.9 percent).

Basista was close behind with 11.4 points per game and an 81.6 percent free throw average.

The Lady Cougars missed the conference playoffs but ended the season with a 76-73 victory over Huntington University. Beidelman scored 21 points in the season finale. Basista, Ellerbrock and Thomas chipped in 13 points each.

Senior Natalie Thomas described this season as one with “memories that will last a lifetime. It was great to grow closer with everyone as a team.”

For the complete story on the graduating seniors, click here.

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