The Concordia women’s basketball team ascended to the No. 1 spot in the MIAC after a five-game winning streak that left the rest of the conference in the dust. Even after playing four games in seven days, the women have maintained their lead.
Head coach Jessica Rahman said that the team is focused on improving with each practice and game. Rahman said that she has seen tremendous progress now that the women have mastered skills they started honing at the beginning of the season.
“If you saw us playing at the beginning of the season and you saw us playing now, we are a very different team,” Rahman said.
Jennifer Christofferson, assistant coach for the women’s team, also emphasized the change she has seen in the team and how this has lead to their success.
“I think the girls gel together really well,” Christofferson said. “They are putting in the time, and talking to each other. At this point in the season I think they realize that they need to improve now or never.”
The women’s team has put a lot of time into preparing for each game, watching video of the opposing team and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. Rahman said that each team is different and the team must prepare different strategies for each game. Even after a win, the coaches said they continue to prepare for the next game.
“We like to approach it one game at a time, because there is a lot of the season left,” Rahman said. “We want to come into each game prepared and fully focused on the opponent.”
Despite the dedication and success shown by the women’s team, their games have brought in considerably fewer spectators in comparison with the level of fan support enjoyed by the men’s basketball team. Last Monday, after the women’s win over St. Thomas, Cobber Nation and other rowdy student supporters rushed in to pack the stands for the men’s game, which started immediately afterwards.
The uneven display of support for the women’s and men’s teams has lead the women to look for other ways to get energized for games.
“We talk a lot about how we as a collective group need to bring the energy,” Rahman said. “You can’t depend and wait on someone else to bring the energy. I know the girls feel the Cobber support, but it would still be great to pack the stands and get more students to come to the games, because they are playing their heart out and you just want people to celebrate that with you.”
Men’s basketball, on the other hand, has been able to play off the excitement of their supporters.
“Having fans makes it easier to win, and Cobber Nation has been awesome about getting the fans out here,” senior guard Aaron Lindahl said. “We even have a lot of faculty that come, too, and it’s great to come into class and they say ‘good game.’ It’s wonderful to see everyone has our back.”
Assistant coach Freddy Coleman agreed that fans are a big part of the team’s success on the court.
“As an ex-player, when you have a lot of fans there, your adrenaline is pumping, you don’t get as tired as much, everybody’s shouting in your ears and it’s a good environment,” Coleman said. “And it’s great for the community.”
The men’s team has been gaining ground after their two recent wins, the first against Division III #1-ranked St. Thomas last Monday and the second a win on Saturday against Augsburg.
Coleman said after the win against Augsburg that he is optimistic about the games to come. He said the team’s excellent shooting during the game was what got them the win. Coleman said the men made 63 percent of the shots they took. With shots like that, Coleman said, the men are sure to keep building on their successes.
When asked about the success of the women’s team, Coleman said he is happy and proud to see the women gaining ground in the MIAC.
“It’s always good to see a Cobber team do well,” Coleman said. “When it comes to basketball, hockey, wrestling, volleyball, football, etc., everybody did well and it has just grown the Cobber winning environment. Hopefully we can keep this snowball rolling.”