SportsTrinity Women’s Basketball winning streak
outlasts country’s longest government shutdown

Coach Hill and the Tigers discuss the keys to the team’s impressive 16–4 overall record
Elise HesterJanuary 31, 2019535 min
https://149362186.v2.pressablecdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/feb-1-issue-womens-basketball-win-streak-1280x1419.jpg

Photo by Matthew Claybrook

Trinity University Women’s Basketball has a big reputation in the world of Division III women’s basketball, especially in their home conference, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC).

“We have a huge target on [our] backs because teams want to beat us every time we play them. We expect teams to bring everything that they have against us, but that only motivates us more to get in the gym and practice ten times harder than any other team in conference does,” wrote Julia Ackerman, sophomore guard, in an email interview. “We know what we have to do to stay on top.”

Having a reputation and living up to it are not synonymous.

From the outside, it seemed that the Tigers, a primarily young team left without some of last season’s upperclassmen leadership including powerhouse Micah Weaver, who graduated last May, might emerge vulnerable.

“We’ve definitely had to change a little bit in regard to personal, but the change has been great. Everyone, all the freshmen, all the younger players, they have done such a great job contributing to the team that we are this year” said Abby Holland, junior and forward. “It’s just been an awesome period of growth for us.”

The Tigers, however, didn’t miss a beat. With a roster helmed by three returning upperclassmen alongside eight first-years and four sophomores, the Tigers used this growing season to learn through winning.

“We are so young, and the steps we have taken to truly appreciate how to play as a team — on both sides of the ball — has been so much fun,” wrote Cameron Hill, head coach, in an email interview. “We have gotten to a point where how we play doesn’t waver no matter who from our team is on the floor.”

Going into games, the Tigers have relied on an uncompromising mentality, pushing hard and fast — a strategy that, when paired with their strong front and back court, has led to success.

The season began Nov. 12 with a 91–73 preseason win against Concordia Lutheran, followed that weekend by a tournament sweep at the McArthur Classic, a close loss to Hardin Simmons University and a close 59–55 win against the formidable Augsburg.

Ackerman counts this series of wins as the highlight of the preseason, which had featured one other victory before ending with a 92–50 defeat to the No. 3 ranked St. Thomas — all before going up against the SCAC.

“All around the board, we try to go into each game with as much intensity and as much enthusiasm as possible,” Holland said. “We always wanna pressure the other team.”

With a 73.7 points-per-game average, the Tiger’s ability to score has led them to a 15–4 overall record, 8–2 with SCAC.

Conference competition began over the break on Dec. 18, 2018 with a 61–52 loss to Austin College followed by a ten game win streak.

The five-and-a-half-week streak outlasted the Government Shutdown on both ends, ending Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 with a 70–66 loss to Texas Lutheran University.

Trinity University Women’s Basketball has a big reputation in the world of Division III women’s basketball, especially in their home conference, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC).

“We have a huge target on [our] backs because teams want to beat us every time we play them. We expect teams to bring everything that they have against us, but that only motivates us more to get in the gym and practice ten times harder than any other team in conference does,” wrote Julia Ackerman, sophomore guard, in an email interview. “We know what we have to do to stay on top.”

Having a reputation and living up to it are not synonymous.

From the outside, it seemed that the Tigers, a primarily young team left without some of last season’s upperclassmen leadership including powerhouse Micah Weaver, who graduated last May, might emerge vulnerable.

“We’ve definitely had to change a little bit in regard to personal, but the change has been great. Everyone, all the freshmen, all the younger players, they have done such a great job contributing to the team that we are this year” said Abby Holland, junior and forward. “It’s just been an awesome period of growth for us.”

The Tigers, however, didn’t miss a beat. With a roster helmed by three returning upperclassmen alongside eight first-years and four sophomores, the Tigers used this growing season to learn through winning.

“We are so young, and the steps we have taken to truly appreciate how to play as a team — on both sides of the ball — has been so much fun,” wrote Cameron Hill, head coach, in an email interview. “We have gotten to a point where how we play doesn’t waver no matter who from our team is on the floor.”

Going into games, the Tigers have relied on an uncompromising mentality, pushing hard and fast — a strategy that, when paired with their strong front and back court, has led to success.

The season began Nov. 12 with a 91–73 preseason win against Concordia Lutheran, followed that weekend by a tournament sweep at the McArthur Classic, a close loss to Hardin Simmons University and a close 59–55 win against the formidable Augsburg.

Ackerman counts this series of wins as the highlight of the preseason, which had featured one other victory before ending with a 92–50 defeat to the No. 3 ranked St. Thomas — all before going up against the SCAC.

“All around the board, we try to go into each game with as much intensity and as much enthusiasm as possible,” Holland said. “We always wanna pressure the other team.”

With a 73.7 points-per-game average, the Tiger’s ability to score has led them to a 15–4 overall record, 8–2 with SCAC.

Conference competition began over the break on Dec. 18, 2018 with a 61–52 loss to Austin College followed by a ten game win streak.

The five-and-a-half-week streak outlasted the Government Shutdown on both ends, ending Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 with a 70–66 loss to Texas Lutheran University.

“We are not undefeated. We have learned a lot from the games we have lost,” Hill wrote. “Given the option, we prefer to learn from winning.”

The Tigers don’t dwell too long on what they can’t change.

“This season has been a season of ups and downs, but our coach always focuses on how we bounce back,” Ackerman said. “When times get tough, that only pushes us to work harder and harder for one another.”

Forgetting the wins and losses of the past and any postseason speculation, the Tigers are determined to stay in the present.

“We never look ahead. One day at a time. Each practice and each game deserves our full attention,” Hill wrote.

Playing one game at a time is an important part of Trinity women’s basketball’s philosophy, a philosophy centered around the Together Tigers ideal, a foundation Hill explained is six years in the making.

“[Together Tigers is] a real thing. I can’t explain it, but it’s everything for us. It’s where everyday begins and ends in our program. We are all in this together, there are no days off when it comes to supporting our players and teammates,” Hill wrote.

The Tigers walk the walk in regard to excellence and togetherness, according to Hill.

“We hold each other accountable,” Ackerman said. “We play with a lot of confidence in each other, and we push each and every one of us to our best because we know what we are capable of as a team.”

This season, the team has been ready to compete, especially as they prepare to face Austin College at home on Friday, Feb. 1.

“We have to take every game really seriously,” Holland said. “Just staying the course and making sure that we come focused and ready no matter who we’re playing.”

The season is not yet over, and a lot is still to be determined.

No matter what happens, the season has been an exciting one and for Hill, the most rewarding of his coaching career.

“To coach this particular team is to wish you could stop time,” Hill wrote. “It has been a lot of work, but to see it all come ‘together tigers’ is just awesome.”

Despite the 14 young women’s hometowns in six different far-flung states, they all share a common goal, Ackerman explained.

“When we walk out on that floor, every single one of us is competitive and wants to win just as bad as the person next to them,” Ackerman said. “That’s what makes us Together Tigers.”

Make sure to catch the game this Friday in Calgaard Gymnasium.

Elise Hester

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