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Woes continue for Niwot girls basketball

 
Series: Niwot girls basketball | Story 4

February 5, 2020

Jocelyn Rowley

Junior Maya Beauvineau attempts to drive to the basket, but was met with resistance from Northridge's zone defense in their match-up on Jan. 31.

The Niwot girls basketball team is still searching for its second win of the 2019-20 campaign, after falling 60-25 to Northridge on January 31st. The Cougars struggled on both sides of the court against the youthful Grizzlies, but their deficiencies were most evident against Northridge's zone defense, and a scoreless second quarter all but sealed their 14th straight loss. Afterwards, Niwot head coach Terri Ward opened up about finishing a season with nothing on the line but pride.

"There's nothing to lose now, so we can't play timid," she said. "If each person shoots the ball seven times, then that's 77 shots, and we might make 30 of them.There's nothing to lose by not playing timid, so work hard from start to finish, and don't turn on each other. That's just where we've got to be, and we can't look at the scoreboard."

Unfortunately, they probably were scared to look for most of the game against Northridge. Niwot kept the game close early on, thanks to a trio of three-pointers from seniors Lily Seiben and Nikki Sims, who would go on to lead the team in scoring with 12 and six points, respectively. However, it didn't take long for the Grizzlies' zone defense to get in the Cougars' heads.Pushing the pace on offense, Niwot was prone to turnovers at times and also had trouble penetrating the post as the game progressed.

A clearly frustrated Niwot team was held scoreless in the second quarter, and were behind by 35-10 at the break. The team had more energy in the third quarter, and managed to score 11 points, but the Cougars were never really in the game again, and went on to lose by 35. Niwot was held to a paltry 19% from the floor, including 1-for-12 from two-point range.

"Honestly, I thought we played well in the first, third and fourth quarters," Ward said. "It doesn't help when you don't put points on the board for an entire quarter."

Ward admitted that she doesn't have an easy explanation for her team's struggles over the season. She had high ambitions for the Cougars' offensive potential back in November, but they've routinely averaged sub-30% in shooting, making double-digit losses commonplace.

She also said that keeping her players engaged as the losing streak continues has been a challenge, prompting her to seek advice from Oregon State women's basketball coach Scott Rueck. He told her to 'Stay positive, and it's the little things,'-words she has taken to heart.

"I've never been one- and something, so this is an experience for me," the longtime coach said. "I'm trying to figure out how to keep a 1 and 16 team motivated, and I don't want them to give up, and get frustrated, and want to quit athletics. I hope they tell me if they get to that point."

One not-so-little thing Ward feels good about is the team's overall chemistry. So far, she said, the players don't seem to be taking their frustration out on each other, though there's certainly enough of it to go around.

Jocelyn Rowley

Senior Lily Seiben struggles to keep control of the ball against Northridge on Jan. 31.

"I don't see us turning on each other, or being mean to each other, but, at times, people haven't felt totally heard," she said. "We sat down and had a talk for two-and-a-half hours, just us, talking about the situation-what's going on, what are you feeling, how can we figure out how to fix some things. I think they felt heard, and that their voice means something, and that's what should happen in a team sport."

That camaraderie hasn't translated into many wins yet, but Ward said it doesn't necessarily have to. Though the team's postseason hopes are a distant memory, she still wants her players to get the most out of their six remaining games.

"If we're getting better, but we're not winning, then so be it. You want to be able to go out at the end of the season and look each other in the eye, and be happy that you played with each other. Play as hard as you can from start to finish when you're on the floor, and I won't complain."

 

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