Teamwork fuels turnaround

‘Team.’ This one small word means big things for Mercyhurst College women’s basketball. ‘Team’ is what the women say has contributed to their seven-game winning streak.

‘Team’ is what has defeated rivals Lake Erie College, Madonna University, Shippensburg University, Cheyney University and West Chester University in the past three weeks.

It’s not surprising that the women are accomplishing great things this season because together, they make a near-perfect team.

If you recall earlier in the season, the team was off to a rocky start. But after the women faced Mansfield University on Dec. 7, things began to change.

Junior guard Samantha Loadman points to a recent boost in confidence for this turnaround.

“Once we got one or two wins under our belt, we played with more confidence and have been able to continue the winning streak,” Loadman said.

This confidence has become apparent when watching the team play and seeing their record, now at 8-4.

Still, the winning streak doesn’t feel like much of a winning streak to sophomore Megan Hoffman.

“We are on a winning streak, but I don’t feel as though that is what is on our minds when we step onto the court to play. I think that every time we play we know exactly what we have to do to win and that is what we’ve been doing,” Hoffman said.

It seems that the team has found a way to not think about winning and yet still accomplishes the task time and again.

Until Sunday’s game against Millersville University, in which the women fell 69-40, the team was on the longest winning streak since the 1999-2000 team, which won eight straight victories. A contributing factor to the success has been help from the bench.

“This year we have some depth coming from the bench. Coach is giving the younger girls time and they are stepping up when they come into the game, which is huge for us,” Hoffman said.

The women plan on keeping up their mindset and play, especially when it comes to PSAC West games next week.

“We believe we can finish in the top four this season and make a good run in the playoffs,” Loadman said.

The Lakers take on their first Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference opponent, Slippery Rock University, away on Wednesday, Jan. 13.