The Stevenson women’s basketball team had a rough start to the 2019-2020 season, but through hard work and determination, they have persevered and made a comeback. As of Feb. 13, the team is 11-11 overall and 6-7 in conference.
Coach Jackie Boswell is in her ninth season with the Mustangs and her 19th season coaching overall. However, as time goes on, she noted that her coaching style hasn’t changed and that the idea of “family” remains central to the team culture. She looks for that in players and focuses a lot on the defensive aspect of the game.
It is evident that this team is a second home for the players and the coaching staff. The coaching philosophy is that “everything that we do on the court, we expect to carry somehow off the court.” Boswell also explained how the team is a family, understanding that “families sometimes don’t get along and they argue, but we’re always going to come back to it because we are in this for one thing.”
Doing what is best for the team as a whole is most important to her. Boswell understands that sometimes that means long days of practice and watching film to prepare the players for tough match-ups.
In the end, Boswell explained that their goal is still the same: make playoffs, win the MAC championship, and return to the NCAA tournament. “We had a rough start, but those goals can still happen,” she said.
Sophomore forward Kellie Johnson explained that to keep each other going, they constantly create a competitive and intense atmosphere. “This allows each of us to challenge and motivate” one another and “be our absolute best.”
Earlier in the season, the Mustangs faced Albright College, losing by only six points after putting up a fight the whole time. On Feb. 8, the team hosted Albright for a rematch on the Mustangs’ home court. It was a high-energy, intense match-up in which the lead went back and forth throughout the game. The game ended with a final shot by Mustang guard Brandi Hall with 1.1 seconds left on the clock, to take the lead and win 55-53. The gym erupted as the Mustangs stormed the court in celebration.
Hall said that in the last second, all she could think about was to “leave everything on the floor.” She added that she was doing everything she could to give her team the best chance of winning, reiterating that this team looks out for each other.
To fans, coaches and players, the game was over, but the women would have to win this game three times over. With .6 second left, Albright had the chance to inbound the ball and get one final shot off. After the buzzer sounded, a foul was called, giving Albright the ball back with just .4 seconds left.
In the end, the Mustangs came out victorious, securing the win. After a tough loss and hard-fought game earlier in the season, Stevenson’s big win against Albright handed the number one team in the conference their second loss of the season.
In order to advance to the playoffs, the Mustangs need to win at least two of their last four games of the regular season. Their next home game is Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m.