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Basketball finishes season strong

February 24, 2012

The UW-River Falls women’s basketball team believes it had a successful season, regardless of any potential postseason outcome. With a national ranking and its first 20 win season since 1989, it is hard to argue that it was not a good year for the Falcons.

Heading into the WIAC tournament, the Falcons were 20-5 and earned the right to host a first round playoff game against UW-La Crosse. The Falcons were victorious over UWL, which meant the Falcons moved on to the WIAC semifinals against UW-Stevens Point.

Falcons head coach Cindy Holbrook said that she would consider it a good year even if the team falls short of all of their goals.

“This year we found out we have a great team. We have a great group of kids who have had a great experience this year. Even if we don’t make the NCAA tournament, we’ve had a successful season,” Holbrook said.

Senior Maranda Dohrn, a Lake City, Minn. native, agreed with her coach’s sentiments. “I think that we have had a great year and really worked hard. It’s too bad we couldn’t have ended up being a little higher seed going into the tourney but we aren’t done yet. We still have our sights set on winning the conference tournament and hopefully getting into the NCAA tournament,” Dohrn said.

Most years, the Falcons would not have to worry about making the 64-team NCAA tournament as they have 12 conference wins in 16 games. This year, however, four WIAC teams have at least 20 wins and 12 conference wins. The Falcons have been ranked in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll all year. Unfortunately, the polls do not factor into the NCAA tournament selection process. Coach Holbrook says her team has some work to do if they hope to be selected to the NCAA tournament.

“Losing the game on Saturday really put us in a tough spot. It is going to be a lot tougher; we have to win at least a couple games in the tournament. We want the right teams to win their conference tournaments to keep as many at-large bids open as we can,” Holbrook said, referring to the team’s close loss to UW-Whitewater on Feb. 18. Holbrook went on to say that she believes that it will be hard for the NCAA tournament committee to not take three teams from the WIAC.

A big part of the team’s success has been the play of the senior class. A UWRF women’s basketball senior leads the Falcons in points scored, steals, blocks, assists, and rebounds. One of those seniors, guard Tiffany Gregorich, was nominated to become an All-American, according to her head coach.

“That would be an awesome accomplishment to be recognized by such a big thing,” Gregorich said.

“She deserves to be recognized as an All-American. Being one of the best players in this conference, that should earn you an All-American bid,” Holbrook said.

Other UWRF seniors have recently achieved large milestones as well. Alise Holst scored her 1,000th career point against UW-Whitewater in the Falcons’ final regular season game. Maranda Dorhn became the program’s all-time leader in rebounding in a close home win last month over UW-Platteville.

“It was really exciting to get the record and to have something to kind of look at and really see the work I have put in over the past four years and appreciate what I have done. When you have teammates that are so supportive, it really makes it fun,” Dohrn said.

Cindy Holbrook was clear about the impact that this senior class has made on her teams.

“They have been the core of the leadership in this team and program. As freshmen, they decided to stay together and win a championship before they left here. It’s been a great experience coaching those kids,” Holbrook said.

If the Falcons win the WIAC tournament, they will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.