Wildcat women’s bench steps up

Simo Rul, Staff Reporter

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The CWU Women’s Basketball bench has helped the team improve on their conference and home win totals from last season.

The Wildcats’ bench, which consists of players who do not start the game, have scored 578 points in the regular season, and average about 21 points a game. The Wildcats have had 12 different players come off the bench this season.

There have been only three players to start every game this season: seniors Jasmin Edwards and Taylor Baird, and junior Sadie Mensing.   

Senior guard Beverly Verduin said that it is significant for the bench to bring the energy every game.

“It’s important for [bench players] to come in and give it their all and keep the energy on the court going,” Verduin said. “Especially now that we have a smaller bench because people have been hurt.”

Verduin has played in all 27 games this season and has come off the bench 14 times. She added that her mindset is the same whether she is starting or coming off the bench. When she steps on the court, she wants to make plays and get the energy going.

Baird said that when the entire team is playing well and on the same page, it motivates both the starters and the bench to make an impact once they enter the game.

“We’re playing for each other at this point and when one person is doing good, it just fuels our fire for everyone to do well,” Baird said.

Having players that come in, score and make an impact right away is something that teams need, especially around postseason time.

“If one person is having a bad game, we need somebody else to step up and have a good game in order to beat any team in the top six,” Baird said. “If one person is having a letdown of a game, it’s pivotal that we have somebody else that can step in.”  

The Wildcat women have accepted roles off the bench and this has had a positive impact in their performance this season.

“This team has been very accepting of [the bench players]. This team just wants to win and I think the key of success on any team is that kids have to buy into their role and buy into how they can make an impact to help your team win,” head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley said.

Richardson-Thornley added that the bench has a lot of depth and each night it could be someone else that is making a significant impact. This is a good thing for the Wildcats to have because opponents  don’t know which Wildcat to prepare for coming off the bench.

The Wildcats have had something this season that they have not had in the past few seasons: consistent scoring, according to Richardson-Thornley.

This season, the Wildcats finished 11-9 in the GNAC and 15-13 overall, clinching a postseason spot in the GNAC Championship Tournament. The Wildcats will face fourth seed Montana State University Billings in the first round of the GNAC tournament on March 1. The tournament runs from March 1 to March 3.

 

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Wildcat women’s bench steps up