â€œExcited.â€ That was the word used by assistant coach Joe Shotland about the Trinity womenâ€™s basketball team as they face the end of the regular season and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament. After two SCAC wins this past weekend against Texas Lutheran and Southwestern, and strong performances across the board and dominate performances, the end of February is an exciting time for the team.
â€œFebruary is always such a fun time of the season. These are when the games really start getting nerve-racking. Playoff / tournament basketball, whatever you want to call it, it doesnâ€™t get any better,â€ Shotland said.
These two wins, combined with an overall record of 9-2 in conference play have found the Tigers as the number one seed in SCAC heading into their final regular season stretch. The Tigers have three games left in the regular season, including two home games this weekend, Friday against Colorado College, and Saturday against Centenary.
â€œI think we are all in shock that the regular season is already coming to an end. Senior night is going to be a bittersweet night, but we are ready to play hard and have fun in these last two home games of the season,â€ Â said sophomore forward Mollie Hughes.
The Tigerâ€™s have six seniors on the squad and their presence has been obvious throughout the season.
â€œAcross the board, our juniors and seniors have been outstanding. They bring the intangibles that you need to build up a great culture. Theyâ€™re intelligent, they value hard-work, they are detail-oriented. They make our team successful,â€ Shotland said.
Caitlin Barrett, a senior guard for the Tigers notes how important these last few games at home are, not just for her as she finishes her Trinity career, but for the team. â€œI think everyone is ready to be back in our home gym with the support of our community and friends. We love playing at Trinity and I feel like weâ€™re ready to come out and have a couple of really good games.. especially considering this is the last time the seniors will play a game in our home gym,â€ Barrett said.
When asked about how the team prepares for the weekend after knowing they have played these teams before, Barrett and Hughes explained importance of growth.
â€œWe definitely learn more about a team and what their tendencies are from previous games. A lot of our game plan for each team will be based on what we have seen from them before. For example, Centenary played a lot of zone against us and we expect to see that again. Each time we play a team we learn a little more about them which helps us prepare for the next time we see them,â€ Barrett said.
Hughes agreed with these sentiments.
â€œI think overall we have grown so much as a team since our last time playing these two teams. We have faced several obstacles since then that we have had to overcome that have allowed us to grow. But going into these two games, we know that as long as we play hard and stick together there is nothing stopping us from getting these two wins,â€ Hughes said. Â
With two wins the Tigers would improve to 11-2 in conference and go into the tournament with not only the number one seed, but lofty expectations for success. These expectations come with a knowledge that their work is cut out for them.
â€œKnowing that youâ€™ve had a good season and put yourself in position to be the number one seed comes with responsibility. You have to respect your body of work and what youâ€™ve done to this point. And know that nothing is a given. Weâ€™ve still got three very competitive games coming up and (if things go as planned) two extremely competitive tournament games. So, happy? Absolutely. Satisfied? Not at all,â€ Shotland said.
With pressure to perform and players hungry for the tournament, Shotland and the coaching staff believe anything is possible.
â€œI think that our girls are ready to make a big run in conference and hopefully beyond. Weâ€™ll have a lot of work, but this is a special group and weâ€™re excited for the next few weeks,â€ Shotland said.
The Trinity womenâ€™s basketball team plays this weekend on Friday against Colorado College at 8 p.m. and Saturday against Cetenary at 6 p.m.