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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
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Catch-up with TU women’s basketball

Coach Wiseman unveils new defensive philosophy

The Taylor women’s basketball team was victorious over the Lancers of Grace (IN), with a score of 57-52 on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Senior guard Hope Custer said the win against Grace was produced by grit and quick adjustments they have learned over the season.

Custer explained that every game is mental and comes with personal and team preparation. 

“Upperclassmen understand that anything can happen at this point in the season. Every game right now really really matters, and Grace was one that we knew we had to win going into it to give us a good setting for the tournament,” Custer said. 

The Trojans are currently 5-9 in conference play, with their most recent victories against Grace and Bethel (IN) 67-45. These victories came in tandem with some hard-fought losses to RV Spring Arbor and No. 2 Marian. 

In their game against the Lancers, the Trojans focused on Maddie Ryman, a senior guard and third all-time scorer for Grace with over 2,000 points in her college career. 

“We made some adjustments and did some things defensively that worked and the girls adapted, specifically Jillian Osswald. We switched her up and we put her on Maddie Ryman, and she was able to slow her down,” head coach, Cassie Wiseman said. 

Jillian Osswald, junior point guard for Taylor, claimed the game-winning lead for the Trojans with a three-pointer in the last 30 seconds of the game. She ended the night with a total of 17 points, going 5-6 from behind the arc.

Custer said the turning point of the season was the Trojans’ home game against RV Spring Arbor. Even though the team fell short, they executed a strong defense and showed their growth and commitment to the season ahead. 

“We were moving as one unit, and that to me was kind of a pivotal moment through the season in the league,” Custer said. “We realized we had the ability to hang with any really good team, as well as pull out a win.”

The Trojans will be looking to complete a season sweep of Huntington as they face the Foresters again on Feb. 21 at Platt Arena. 

During their first matchup on Jan. 17, Taylor Westgate, a senior forward, tied the single-game rebounding record with 25 rebounds for the Trojans. She proceeded to collect her third career Crossroads League Player of the Week award for Jan. 15-21. 

“Taylor brings so much experience and she’s established so much dominance within the conference. She’s such a special player that can make things happen both on the offensive end and the defensive end,” Wiseman said. 

Another standout player for the Trojans is senior guard, Ava Henson, leading scorer of the season with a total of 358 points, 14.9 per game. 

In preparation for their next game against Huntington, the Trojans are focusing on putting all four quarters together. By strengthening their defense, the team is working on breaking the press break of teams and gaining confidence in their abilities to handle the ball. 

“I think just using that momentum with how we played against [Huntington] last time, will build a lot of confidence in our girls for the second time through,” Wiseman said. 

Wiseman has become more confident in her coaching abilities and her team with each game during her first year coaching at a collegiate level. 

Custer loves Wiseman’s defensive philosophy. She said that it did take a lot of adjusting to learn a new system, but that she’s thankful Wiseman focuses on both ends of the court. 

The season has provided Wiseman an opportunity to scout and observe other coaches allowing her to learn how to adjust to the NAIA playing style. 

The Trojans next game is away against Huntington (IN) on Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m.