The Women’s Basketball team ended the CCIW Tournament with a splash Saturday, as head coach Kent Madsen celebrated the CCIW championship with a dive into the pool in full suit.
“Obviously I’m extremely proud of the girls,” said Madsen. “They’ve had this as one of their goals all season long and to be able to accomplish it, to face adversity along the way and to get through that, I’m just really impressed by the heart of this team.”
Hours earlier, the Thunder met Illinois Wesleyan in the tournament finals and overcame a quick start by the Titans to earn their second consecutive CCIW Tournament championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament. The game went back and forth most of the first quarter, but pulled away at halftime by a score of 48-37. The team ended up winning 92-70. The Thunder won big the night before as well, as they defeated Elmhurst by a final score of 82-50.
The Thunder were scorching hot from the field this weekend, shooting an astounding 80 percent from three-point range against Elmhurst and 41 percent against Illinois Wesleyan. In all, the Thunder shot 58 57 percent, respectively, on the weekend. In short, they were dominant.
Junior Katie McDaniels put up 23 points against Elmhurst and a career high 32 against Illinois Wesleyan, capping a week that began with her being named CCIW Outstanding Player of the Year.
“It’s a really huge honor to be named ,” she said. “There are a lot of really great players in our conference that I respect a ton, including a ton of girls on our team, and I wouldn’t have gotten it without them.”
Senior Hannah Considine and sophomore Kelly Lawson were named to the All-CCIW team along with McDaniels. Madsen won an award, too, and was named CCIW Co-Coach of the Year.
McDaniels was also the first Wheaton women’s basketball player to be nominated for the Jostens Trophy, which honors the most outstanding player in DIII basketball.
While these individual awards are well deserved, they aren’t what the team is playing for. As McDaniels explained, “We’re hoping to win a championship.”
The Thunder’s road to a national championship continues this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.