Women’s basketball team looks back

Sophomores reflect on their final season with Vincennes


Noel Lee

Cristina De La Cruz, #13, focusing on shooting a free throw and trying to earn more points for the team.

Noel Lee, Staff photographer

On Feb. 23, Sophomore Night, the women’s Trailblazer basketball team earned an 84-43 victory over the Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) at the PE complex. It was the 20th winning game of the season and the team achieved its year-long goal of winning 20 games. Coach Harry Meeks praised the team, saying that they played well and were a good basketball team this year.

Being the last home game of this season, it meant a lot to the sophomore players who are going to leave Vincennes University and transfer to other institutions.

Therefore, Coach Meeks unusually but intentionally grouped all the sophomore players to go out on court in the first quarter. This new approach pleased Meeks and he commented, “They did real well[…]it was a pretty good start, and we went all from there.” Having the game in Blazers’ hand plus enough players back up, Meeks still pressed the team by running the ball up and down the floor.

After winning the home games, the next goal the team has is focusing on is the district championship that they are going to play against Wabash Valley. Cristina De La Cruz (#13), Madrid, Spain, business administration, sophomore, said that the coming fight would be challenging. As Wabash Valley ranks the first place in the nation and it was in league with VU, “It’s a tough game[…]we competed against each other every year. We get to like the same spot in the district, and we usually play the championship game against them. So it’s a big deal for us to beat them.” De La Cruz added.

Meeks hoped that the players would be able to win the championship and head to the national tournament. “But we are gonna work extremely hard to get that done,” Meeks explained.

For the current preparation, Coach Meeks said the team had been training and was in good shape. The team had been working cardiorespiratory and other cardiovascular conditioning.

“We haven’t played a team that was [in] better condition than us,” Meeks said confidently. In terms of the strategy, the defence also had been improved compared to the beginning of the season. From playing by half-court team style to full-court team style, the team improved and gave more presses.

The only two things Meeks hoped the team could get better at: not turning the ball over and execution- carrying out presses, both in court bands press and zone press.      

Meeks encouraged players to keep on working hard and practicing. “Because when you work harder and practice, that carries over to the game. If you are not practicing hard, you’re not going to play hard.”

Meeks tried to train the team to use the same amount of effort in practice as they do in the match.

“We don’t want a bad day at practice. We are working on all good days at practice and then carry over the good days at the game.” That’s how the lady blazers could attain their goal of twenty winnings.

Ivanda Hudjakova (#33), Valmiera, Latvia, business administration, sophomore, felt confident and wasn’t worried about the coming games, “we are doing good, everything’s on the coach’s side, everything is like professional, so we just go and practice,” She said as she smiled.

Members of the team support one another. De La Cruz stated that, “If somebody falls, we all fall, we [will] all go with that person.” The bonding between the team is strong and collaborative.

When Meeks was asked to compare the men’s basketball and the women’s basketball,  he pointed out that men’s and women’s are “entirely two different games.” Men’s games are more athletic and about the power game which plays above the rim; while women’s games are a finesse game that is more elegant and played below the rim. Meeks further explained that shooting and executing were the women’s team’s premium factor. He encouraged students and people in the community to come and enjoy how the lady Blazers play.

Some of the audience stayed behind after the women’s game ended. They gave full support to both the women’s team and the men’s team, which compete against SWIC as well and vanquished them 98-78.

At the end of the game, two sophomores players were interviewed. Lony Francis Jr (#22), Colombia, Ohio, general studies,sophomore and George Dixon(#35), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, business management, sophomore felt good and satisfied with the current matches. They shared the same goal of winning the championship as the women’s team did.

Dixon mentioned that he was glad to be the part of VU and the basketball team where he experienced a lot. Within the two years has been here, he felt that the team played well as a team.

“[We] work harder, play together[and] get on our game more efficient,” Dixon described. He was also thankful for Coach Franklin Todd, who provides a good lead for the team and being able to play with great members.

Francis reflected that, “In these two years, Coach Franklin taught me a lot about basketball[…]pattern to shoot pretty much the whole game. [In] college you got to go out, you got to be some by yourself, other people might not be there. You gotta be a man, you gotta wake up.”

In terms of the plan of after graduation, they both planned to continue playing basketball, rounding to the division-1 basketball game.

“Follow what my heart is, get what I can do to [support] the team.” Francis Jr. said.