Women’s basketball surging through season


Samantha Bowman leads the huddle. Photo by Jacob Thompson -Thompson Sports Photos

Isaac Hinson, Sports Editor

The Wildcats currently sit at 11-3 and rank fourth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) with a 3-2 conference record. 

Of those 11 wins, eight of them have been won by 20-points or more. Head coach Randi Richardson attributes the massive margin-of-victory to the team’s high-powered offense. 

“We have a pretty balanced offense,” said Richardson. “We can shoot the ball at a high-rate from three, and then we have good guards who can penetrate the lane and get into the paint. As well as an All-American post player [Samantha Bowman] who can score in the paint too, so we put a lot of pressure on people offensively.”

In practice, Richardson says that she focuses on getting the best shots possible, and making sure everyone is comfortable in their role on the team. 

“[We emphasize] shooting the ball and getting great shots,” said Richardson. “As well as making sure players are doing what they’re good at, and not trying to do things that are outside of their skillset.”

Richardson highlighted sophomore guard Valerie “Sunshine” Huerta as a player who has impressed her this season. 

“Sunny Huerta’s really stepped up for us,” said Richardson. “She’s really dynamic. She has the ability to really handle the basketball and get to her spots. She can score at all three levels, from three, off the dribble, and she can get to the rim.” 

Huerta is averaging 19.8 points-per-game (PPG) on 47.1% from the field, and an astounding 47.8% from three. Huerta is also averaging 2.7 rebounds-per-game (RPG) and 3.4 assists-per-game (APG).

Richardson says that Huerta’s play has also helped center Samantha Bowman play at a higher level. 

“I think her play has also really helped out Sam [Bowman],” said Richardson. “They both help each other out because they put so much pressure on other teams in different ways.”

Bowman is averaging 19.9 PPG, 15.1 RPG, and 2.9 APG as well as 1.7 stocks (steals + blocks) per game. 

Unlike their competition, the Wildcats have yet to be able to play a single game on their home court, due to the reconstruction of Nicholson Pavilion. Richardson credits the team’s ability to continue their impressive play despite the circumstances. 

“We’ve been playing in all gyms but our own,” said Richardson. “Our youth don’t know any better, they’re just excited to play … We’ve been on the road all year essentially, so it hasn’t really affected us.”

Going into the second half of the season, Richardson says that she wants the team to focus on improving their defensive ability. 

“We’ve been fairly sound defensively,” said Richardson. “There’s a lot of room to grow, but we’ve been doing enough to really allow for our offense to impact the game. A lot of it comes with experience and investment. Our schemes have been good, it’s just our execution. So making that a higher priority and giving them extra reps and giving them complete clarity on the defensive end will help out.”