Seniors lead resilient women’s basketball season

By Caitlin Opperman

Just two games shy of a .500 conference record, women’s basketball fell to St. Benedict 48-60 on Wednesday but will look to trounce Hamline for a second time during Saturday’s regular season closer. The team defeated Carleton, Augsburg and Gustavus earlier in the month and has seen outstanding performances from all of its starters in recent weeks. Forward Holly Schiedermayer ’12 has been one offensive standout, making 93 percent of the shots she took against Augsburg and Gustavus. “Holly has had a breakout season,” Coach Ellen Thompson said. “She has twice been named the MIAC Player of the Week while putting up impressive numbers.” Schiedermayer attributes her success to the team as a whole. “I do well because I get good passes from the guards and everyone shoots well, which frees up the inside so I can make a move. It’s a total team effort,” Schiedermayer said. Guard Jessica Rene ’12 has put up several double-digit scoring efforts in recent games and is nearing the 1,000-point mark with a career total of 956 points. “Jessica was Honorable Mention All Conference last year and has had another fantastic season,” Coach Thompson said. “She has been one of the best three-point shooters to come through our program.” The remaining starters, Shannon Rene ’12, Maggie Wood ’12, and Kyanna Jones ’13, have all posted double-digit performances to lead the Scots to a 9-12 record in conference. “The size of our team does not compare to the size of our heart,” Wood, who has overcome several seasons of injury, said. “As a team in the MIAC with only two players over six feet, being undersized is an understatement. We came out each and every game knowing this, but didn’t let it get to us. We continued to play scrappy, intense Mac basketball and competed against teams that outsized us, making each and every team earn their wins.” Multiple offensive contributors and a solid defense have been key factors in the Scots’ wins. Coach Thompson has seen great improvement in offensive execution and has been impressed with the team’s defense, especially in the last few weeks. “We allow (approx.) 57 points per game which is pretty good in the MIAC,” Jones said. Wood leads the team in steals, with 61 on the season, and Schiedermayer tops the defensive rebound stats, totaling 116 for the season. “This team has been a dream to coach,” Coach Thompson said. “They have done all that I have asked of them and our team has improved because of their efforts. Overall, they have played well as a team and have been supportive of each other both on and off the court.” Consistency has been elusive, however. “We’re working on being more creative to find better shots on offense and playing for a solid 40 minutes with no lapses,” Schiedermayer said. The key, according to Jessica Rene, is finding ways to get back in games if the team gets down. This goal will be critical next season, as four of the five starters will graduate in May. It will also be up to the underclassmen to preserve the team’s unique chemistry. “We have played well together as a team and everyone contributes,” Shannon Rene said. “This is probably because we are so close on and off the court.” All four seniors say these relationships are what they will value most from their Macalester basketball careers. “Our basketball team became a family from the first day I stepped onto the court at Mac,” Jessica Rene said. “I have so many great memories on and off the court of my coaches and teammates and could never replicate it.” Schiedermayer agreed, noting that much of what she has learned on the court will be just as valuable away from it. “Mac basketball has allowed me to build relationships with awesome people that will last a lifetime,” she said. “I’ve developed better communication skills and the determination to work hard and succeed which will help me in whichever career I decide to pursue.” Saturday’s home game against Hamline at 1 p.m. will also be celebrated as Senior Day. “All four of our seniors have been great leaders and great players,” Coach Thompson said. “Their work ethic has set a high standard for the other players in our program. They will be greatly missed by the coaching staff and the players.”