Lady Blues move past Hornets, now ranked #1

Nathan Miller

The Lady Blues are once again the number one Division II team in the nation.

After defeating Southwestern College on Monday, and the top ranked Lady Hornets falling to Metro State this past weekend. The Lady Blues grabbed the number 1 ranking in the nation from ESU.

While the Lady Blues are just days away from closing one chapter in their lives, they are opening another one.

Just like all other students on campus this week, they’ll take their finals. But while doing so, they must also prepare to play against Southwestern College today, along with opening up conference play Saturday with Missouri Western.

“Well we’re getting close to finals,” said Ron McHenry, head women’s basketball coach. “We’re going to take some days off but not too many, so we’re ready for Monday’s game.”

The 4-0 Lady Blues will take on the Southwestern College Lady Builders 7 p.m. today in Lee Arena. The Lady Builders are a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and are 5-1 so far.

“We got some kids who need their guns back,” said McHenry. “We can’t skip practice even though you want to give them a few days off. We’re not good enough yet, nor do we know our stuff well enough yet. So we’re going to hit the gym and have a couple great working days and a couple great thinking days.”

The Lady Blues haven’t played a game since Nov. 25 when they throttled Lynn 90-40 for a complete sweep in the Premier Mortgage AM 580 WIBW Holiday Classic. The Lady Blues defeated Cameron 89-66 the previous night.

But just because it’s been more than a week since the Lady Blues have seen action and now have the distraction of finals this week, it doesn’t mean they won’t be focused, said Brooke Ubelaker, senior forward.

“It’s nice to have a break to concentrate on school work, but at the same time we have to keep working hard in practice,” said Ubelaker. “That is kind of what being a student athlete is all about. You just have to balance academics and sports. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”

Ubelaker has been living up to her All-American status so far this season. Ubelaker leads the Lady Blues in scoring and recently broke Washburn’s all time 3-point record. However, Ubelaker says any one person can step up and lead the Lady Blues on any given night.

“We have so many people on this team who can score, and every night it could be a different person who steps up,” said Ubelaker. “It’s nice nobody really has any pressure on them to score – we can pass the ball to so many people. That’s really the key, because we’re so balanced.”

One Lady Blue in particular is starting to make some noise. Amanda Holmes, junior forward, recorded her second double double of the season against Lynn with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

“We’re kind of a smaller group, so we want to get it into our posts,” said Ubelaker. “Holmes did a nice job of crashing the boards and trying to post the defense.”

Holmes recorded her first double double against Cameron on Nov. 18 with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Many times, with Megan Sullivan, senior forward, on the sideline resting her still-recovering knee, Holmes is the biggest option the Lady Blues have on the floor.

“Amanda is tough down there,” said McHenry. “She is big and strong enough to hold her own. They were fronting the post, and sometimes if you keep them busy on the backside, you can get easy layups. Amanda did a nice job. We’re finally starting to figure out our post play.”

Post play will be necessary to figure out before opening conference play against the Missouri Western Griffons Saturday. The Griffons Inga Buzoka, senior center, was recently named MIAA Women’s Basketball Player of the Week. Buzoka averaged 21.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in the Griffons’ last two games.

The Griffons, who return eight from last year’s team, were picked to finish third in the MIAA women’s basketball preseason coaches poll.