With the fall semester soon to come to a close, the William Jewell College men’s and women’s basketball seasons are in full swing. The women have played six regular season games and the men five.
Graceland University traveled to Jewell Dec. 1 to take on the Cardinals in the Mabee Center. The women’s game went into overtime when Maddie Nelson, sophomore, hit two free throws with 40 seconds left to tie the game at 76. The Cardinals dominated the overtime, outscoring the Yellowjackets 16-7 to claim a victory of 92-83. Nelson finished the game with a team-high of 20 points. Hayli Jo Smith, senior, added 18 while Aerial Smith, senior, and Logan Antenen both added 13.
The men were able to grab their first win of the season as they cruised past the Yellowjackets with a score of 81-51. Christian Hildebrandt, senior, led all scorers in the game with 24 points. Darius Tomlin, junior, also chipped in 14 for the Cardinals. Muusa Dama, first-year, pulled down nine rebounds for the Cardinals, while Austin Regier, sophomore, and Tomlin recorded eight rebounds each.
The women have struggled defensively, but are looking to develop a strong team defense.
“This season we have struggled with being able to adjust our defense during the game,” Mackenzie Johnson, junior, said. “Our defense is what wins us games. I think we have made some improvement, but we definitely still have room to improve.”
With 10 new members, the men are trying to create a solid team chemistry.
“We have to figure out how things work on the court with different combinations of players,” Cyril Bilong, senior, said. “Not only do we have a lot of new players, but we also have a couple of freshman, so we are still building our chemistry.”
The Cardinals traveled to Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) rival Rockhurst University Dec. 4. GLVC games are more meaningful to the season because the final conference standings determine if the teams make the postseason or not. The women won the game with a score of 75-58. This moves the women’s record to 4-2 (1-0). The men also won with score of 85-79. Both the men and women were picked to finish sixth in the Great Lakes Valley Conference West Division, so the wins against Rockhurst offer both teams a strong start to the conference season.
The women play Sunday, Dec. 7 at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo. They will then travel to Manhattan, Kan. to take on Division I Kansas State University Monday, Dec. 8. The men play at home in the Mabee Center on dead day, Monday, Dec. 8 against Central Christian College of the Bible.