Blues set for tough stretch of MIAA play

In rhythm Senior guard Brette Ulsaker (3) advances the ball against Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday night. Ulsaker had 11 points on the night.

Ben Fitch

The Lady Blues introduced their one-day winning streak on Saturday, when the team licked Nebraska-Omaha, 63-55—ending a three game skid from a 13 win run.

Ranked eighth nationally, the team held a 10 point lead for most of the second half. A feat attributed to the 6’2 forward, Dayna Rodriguez, who managed eight rebounds for the game.

Before the win, however, the Blues were breaking a loss record, which had been standing since the 2000-01 season.

The Blues are 14-3 overall and 8-3 in the MIAA. And their three losses fell against Missouri Southern State, Pittsburg State and Emporia State.

“When you have Washburn on the front of your jersey, everyone comes out to get you,” said Brette Ulsaker, the senior guard from McPherson.

Ulsaker points to the rising confidence level, which  is apparent during practice, as the most potent tool in the Blues’ arsenal.

“We know we’ve put ourselves in a jam,” said Coach Ron McHenry, “and now we have to worry about winning every game.”

McHenry said he doesn’t point to poor attitude as a reason for the slow momentum into the spring semester.

“It’s not as if they are a bad group, or that they were doing anything that was detrimentally wrong,” he said.

One notable symptom of loss in the game against Emporia, Jan. 16, was the team’s outside shooting average, said McHenry. But on drives to the bucket the Blues are more comfortable and managed to palpate the ball, Saturday, with 18 field goals of 53 attempted—a 34 percent average.

The flu bug also got ahold of the team, leaving several of the Blues under the weather.

“We weren’t as healthy as we should have been, but that will always be a reason we lose a game,” McHenry said. 

So at this point, the Blues said they hope to just pull out more wins.

Stevi Shultz, sophomore guard from Neodesha, said she is eager to knock down some threes when the team meets Northwest Missouri State tonight at 5:30.

The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats are 10-8, and 6-5 in the MIAA. McHenry said they are fond of switching screens often, and so the trick is to be ready to run. The Bearcats are known for their offensive speed.

The Blues will face Missouri Western on Saturday in St. Joseph, then Truman State in Kirksville, Feb. 3.

The next home game will be against Fort Hays, Feb. 6.