Back on the court

Women’s basketball aims for the NCAA tournament as season approaches

Callaghan Bluechel and Maya Ewing

It’s been eight months since Seattle Pacific University’s women’s basketball team laced up for a game. Last spring, the team made it to the GNAC Tournament, beating Alaska Fairbanks but losing in the second round to Alaska Anchorage. Looking ahead, the team has lofty goals.

Redshirt freshman and exercise science major Makenna Jacklin recognizes the team’s strong improvement and unification after an off-season of hard work.

“Our practices are a lot better than how they started; we are really coming together as a team and learning the tendencies of each other, which is really cool to see in practice not only to play with but to be around it,” Jacklin said.

With team fellowship, skill and determination, the team thinks they have a shot at making it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018.

“I really think that this is the team that can make it to the NCAA tournament. I think talking with the coaches, they have a lot of faith in us, and they have really been able to build the program up,” redshirt freshman and communications major Emilia Bishop said. “This is also the first year that everyone on the team was recruited by [the current] coaching staff, which brings a whole different level of understanding and trust to the court.”

Bishop thinks this team has all the intangibles athletically and experientially.

“I feel good; we are a good team, we are athletic, we are tall, but we move well and have a really good culture,” she noted. “We are really lucky because almost everyone has experience at the college level, and even those that are freshman are picking stuff up really well, and we have really good leaders on the team.”

Sophomore communications major Lolo Weatherspoon says that this group is extremely close-knit. They are friends on and off the court.

“We … are very good at staying together once practice is over. We’re all together, we’re giving each other good feedback, positive feedback as well, so it’s very motivating for the season,” Witherspoon said.

While the team has ambitious goals, they are most looking forward to getting back on the court and playing the game they love.

“I’m super excited! We’re all just ready to start games and get on the court and show what we’ve been working on for the past few months,” sophomore business major Maya Hoff said. “I think we’re all super competitive, so it’s fine to play against each other, but we’re really excited to get another opponent.”

Despite their end-of-season aspirations and personal goals, the team plans to take things as they come, one day at a time.

“I think one of our team goals is just to focus on one game at a time, you know,” Hoff said. “There’s a lot of great teams out in the GNAC, so [we’ll] see how far we can get.”