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Falcons struggle during rough January

February 5, 2009

After getting off to a good start in December, the Falcon women’s basketball team is going through a rough stretch, only winning two of their eight games in January.

The Falcons entered conference play with high hopes, but were not able to keep up with the top half of one of the toughest conferences in the nation. Road losses to UW-Stevens Point, UW-Whitewater, UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse have dropped the Falcons to seventh in the conference. Even though five out of the six losses were by double digits, Head Coach Cindy Hovet remains optimistic.

“The score doesn’t reflect the way we played, if you look at the box score, we were right there with them in most statistical categories,” Hovet said.

The inability to get past the tough defense of Stevens Point accounted for two of the five losses, the most recent one being a 75-49 loss at home. In both losses, the Falcons failed to shoot over 33 percent from the field.

“Our poor shooting percentage, both from the field and the free throw line has kept us out of many games lately,” senior guard Jenna Hanson said.

This difficult conference schedule has not left the players fatigued at all before and after games and practices.

“Fatigue is not a factor for us because of the length of our practices and the way they are run. Everybody contributes during the drills,” Hanson said.

Hovet also said that fatigue is not a factor for this team.

“Because of the way minutes during the games and practices are spread out to all players, fatigue shouldn’t happen,” she said.

Even though this rough stretch of games has dropped the Falcons’ record and place in the standings, it has not dampened the team’s attitude.

“The chemistry remains very high and the players continue to have a good attitude,” Hovet said. “And the frustration level has been low because of the way the girls have responded to a very difficult schedule.”

Entering the final month of the season, the Falcons will need to improve on their shooting if they want to win tough road games at UW-Oshkosh, and UW-Superior which are their two remaining road games before the playoffs. The other four games are all at home starting this weekend against Eau Claire. If the Falcons’ want to make the playoffs, Hovet said she knows what needs to improve.

“We need to communicate more on defense, and win the games we’re supposed to win, especially the ones at home,” Hovet said. “We have a good enough team that we should make the playoffs.”

With only six games left in the season, winning the two road games is important to Hanson and the other players.

“We need to be able to win on the road, and be able to stay focused as the season draws to a close,” Hanson said.

With four out of its next six at home, the Falcons will at least have their fans with them entering the most important stretch of the season.

The WIAC playoffs get started Feb 24.