Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Women’s basketball finds identity after season

The women’s basketball team met at LaSalle Court before they traveled to Independence, Missouri for the NAIA National Championship. Zoie Miller, sophomore guard, drives the lane for a layup in the second half against Xavier University. Photo credit: Zach Brien

In the final seconds of the NAIA National Championship Tournament, the women’s Wolf Pack basketball team fell just short of advancing to the second round.

The women’s team finished the regular season at 23-8 and captured the Southern States Athletic Conference championship for the second straight year.

In spite of adding another championship to the program, Kellie Kennedy, head coach, said that the team must strive to be more than a one-and-done team.

“We have to be better than first round out, in my mind. The playing field is more level now than it’s been in recent history. We have a shot to go do something great, and that’s what I want for this program, and next year’s team,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy also said that the team has become accustomed to being a contender to reach the National Championship every year.

In the midst of this season’s championship run, Kennedy felt that the team came together more than they have at any point of the season.

“They kind of came into their own. They figured out who they were. I think we have a team where so many different people stepped up for us in so many different ways, on so many different occasions. That was huge for us,” Kennedy said.

Because of the internal growth of the team, Caroline Gonzalez, junior forward, believes that this has been a season of progress.

“People expected us to have a rebuilding year and we exceeded those expectations by winning the conference tournament and making it to nationals. I’m very proud of us for everything we’ve accomplished,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez, the SSAC Tournament MVP, averaged 14 points and five rebounds during the conference tournament.

For the team’s young players, experiencing a winning season will help to boost the team’s confidence going forward.

With the team’s 2015-16 season in the books, Coach Kennedy believes that the foundation is set for the team to continue to build upon.

“Everyone loves a winner. We go out and tell kids, we go out and tell recruits we have a tradition and a history of winning in this program. We just want to take that to the next level,” Kennedy said.

Coach Kellie Kennedy has 169 wins as the women’s head coach, just four wins shy of the all-time record by Jack Orsley.

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