Wheeler keeps Owls hot over winter break in win

Hunter LyleSports Editor

While many Southern students enjoy a long, stress-free winter break with festivities and relaxation, the women’s basketball team make the most of the time off by playing effective basketball.

In their last game of 2018, the women’s basketball team capped off the year by dominated non-conference matchup Dominican College by a score of 85-75.

Senior guard Amanda Pfohl said the team won because of their holistic team play.

“The key to the game was definitely playing defense and playing together,” said Pfohl. “Kianna [Steinauer] did a great job rebounding, Imani [Wheeler] really stepped up, with her points. We shared the ball really well, especially in the first half.”

In a game that was over long before the final buzzer, the Owls were able to control the lead for all but 31 seconds in the first half and four players ended in double digits scoring.

However, the matchup with the Chargers marks only one of seven games the team faces over the winter break, which typically has the longest spans between games.

“It’s always sort of a tricky situation,” said head coach Kate Lynch, “because they get seven days off, which is definitely needed for sure, but we came back and had a couple good practices. We were prepared.”

So far over break, the Owls narrowly lost to Chestnut Hill College and won big over Concordia College, where junior forward Kiana Steinauer had a historic 30 point-30 rebound game.

Lynch said the key to staying focused and effective over such a long break is self-reflection.

“I think this is probably the best time, because we have the most time to really kind of work on ourselves a little bit,” said Lynch. “I always think it’s important to watch film on ourselves, because we can say, ‘hey, we’re not doing x,y,z,’ but if they don’t necessarily see it, then they don’t know.”

The Owls were able to defeat the Chargers due to prime perimeter defense and non-stop rebounding on both sides of the ball.

The Chargers only shot 10.5 percent from beyond the three-point line, only connecting on two shots in the fourth quarter. Southern also almost doubled Dominican’s rebounding throughout the game, ending with 41-27 respectively.

Steinauer, who leads the NCAA DII in double-doubles, finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds, while Pfhol ended with 12 points, and junior guard Aaliyah Walker had 14 points and seven rebounds.

Junior guard Imani Wheeler also had an impressive game, setting her career record in points scored with 23 off 52 percent shooting from the floor (9-17), and 57 percent from deep (4-7).

Wheeler said the key to her successful day was taking advantage of opportunities and playing as a team.

“There were little open looks [throughout the game],” said Wheeler. “I usually don’t shoot the three, but they were leaving me open so I just let it fly. I was just finding open looks and going with my teammates.”

The women’s basketball team improved their record to 9-4, 3-3 in the NE-10, and look to play their first game of the new year against Saint Thomas Aquinas College on January 5th.

Photo Credit: southernctowls.com

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