After a tumultuous non-conference schedule, women’s basketball is gaining momentum as the end of January approaches.
Standing atop the Mid-American Conference’s West Division, the Chippewas are on a seven-game winning streak. All of the victories have come against MAC opponents and three of the seven came at home, where the team has not lost all season.
“It’s nice, and we’ve still been able to win on the road, which I think is big, and I think we’ve played some of the best teams in the MAC already,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “I like where we are, but we have a lot of improving to do.”
Guevara prepared her team in practice this week for its next test against Eastern Michigan, which is at the bottom of the West Division.
Even with a mismatch on paper, Guevara said she never takes any team lightly, especially conference opponents. In EMU’s case, it might feel there is something to prove against the top team in the division and conference.
“We don’t take anybody lightly,” Guevara said. “I’ve continued to say our non-conference schedule prepared us for every team in the MAC this season. We have to make sure we come prepared and take care of business on our court.”
Junior guard Jessica Green is in the same boat. She would like to see the streak and early MAC dominance continue.
“It feels great to be on a winning streak,” Green said. “We went 7-0 last year before losing to Bowling Green, but this year we can actually go 8-0 and remain undefeated in conference this year.”
Green was named Third Team All-MAC last season, despite missing the last seven games of the season due to injury. A new year is upon her and she is happy to be healthy again and in the middle of another MAC Championship hunt. She is averaging 12.2 points per game this season while posting a .449 field goal shooting percentage.
“It’s a great feeling (to be healthy) and I’m blessed to come back and play again this year,” Green said. “Some people don’t get the chance to come back, so it’s a good feeling to be back and to be able to finish out the season this year.”
Another Chippewa who has stepped up and assumed a leadership position is senior guard Niki DiGuilio, who has been named the Members First Credit Union Scholar Athlete of the Week. In a season where she has broken two school records and has taken over as first all-time in program history in 3-pointers made, this adds to the long list of accolades for her and her team.
“Niki has worked for everything; she’s one of the best 3-point shooters in the country and that’s because she puts in the time,” Guevara said. “(DiGuilio) is a top-notch student because she puts in the time, so I think it’s great to see her hard work pay off.”
Armed with the likes of Green and DiGuilio, the Chippewas feel they are ready to take on the Eagles at 7 p.m. Thursday at McGuirk Arena.