After a record of 11-15 (6-12) in 2013-14, Jill Cress, head coach, and the women’s basketball team are ready to turn things around.
“It was tough season, it was our first losing season since moving the NCAA Division-II level,” Cress said. “We struggled finding chemistry.”
The team ended last season in the first round of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Tournament after suffering a loss to Truman State University 70-58. The team also graduated Chelsea Meeks and Cassy Nicolay, who led the team in points scored and rebounds per game, respectively.
Coach Cress and her assistant coaches held player conferences at the end of the year to reflect on the positives of the season and where they could each improve. Cress hopes this will help the team “get rolling again.”
The Cardinals have nine new faces on the team, consisting of seven first-years and two transfers.
Adri Rodriguez joins the team as a transfer from the University of Madrid (Spain). The sophomore will be playing as a forward for the team.
Logan Antenen will suit up for the Cardinals this year after transferring from Fort Hays State in Kansas. Antenen will play as a guard during the 2014-15 season.
Ashley Pitrof is a first-year point guard from Wisconsin that will bring her experience to the Cardinals as an All-Conference and state tournament player in high school.
Katie Cordray is a forward from Lathrop, Mo. At 6 feet 3 inches tall, she will be a post threat for the Cardinals against their opponents this season. She was a First Team All-State player in high school.
Lindsey McCoy, forward, is from Eureka High School, where she led the team to a 4th place finish in the state tournament.
Megan Paul is a forward from Kearney High School, where she earned First Team All-Conference, All-District and All-State recognition.
Hannah Nicolay joins the squad as a forward. She is a native of Salisbury, where she earned First Team All-Conference, All-District and All-State honors. She is the younger sister of 2014 graduate, Cassy Nicolay.
Hayden Butler is a point guard from Des Moines, Iowa. She attended Dowling Catholic High School, where she broke the record for career three-point percentage. Her experience in this position should bode well for the Cardinals this season.
Katie Finn rounds off the 2014-15 recruited class. She is a forward from Oak Creek, Wis. She was an All-Conference player, member of the Suburban Milwaukee All-Area Team and a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) South All-Star her senior year.
“I think this group’s biggest asset is that they all come in from winning high school programs. They know how to win games” Cress said. “They are all also very good students, and a great fit for William Jewell and our basketball program.”
Coach Cress hopes that the ten new faces can build chemistry with the seven returners to make for a winning season. She has been impressed with the leadership shown by the upperclassmen, and says that the team “gets along very well, plays hard at practice and competes.”
“It is a lot of fun to coach players that work hard every day. I think this group will be a lot of fun to coach and to watch play,” Cress said.
The Cardinals are currently projected to finish sixth in the GLVC West this season. The team will begin exhibition play against Western Illinois University in Malcomb, Ill. The Cardinals will return to the Mabee Center Nov. 15 against “Livin’ The Dream” in exhibition play. The regular season begins with a home opener Nov. 17 against Avila University.
The Cardinals’ full schedule can be viewed here.