By James Bartolo
The ThunderWolf Women’s Basketball Team plays their first game of the RMAC Shootout tonight at 7:00 against the South Dakota Mines Hardrockers.
With a 20-2 RMAC record the ThunderWolves clinched the No. 1 seed in the eight-team tournament and will have the support of the home crowd at Massari Arena throughout. This is the second consecutive season the ThunderWolves earned the RMAC regular season crown, but their first year under head coach Curtis Loyd.
“It’s been really fun. This team doesn’t want to be good. They want to be really great,” Loyd said. “They have trusted me, they have trusted the process and they have bought into the defensive philosophy.”
The ThunderWolves were aware of their status as the top seed since their February 17 win over Colorado Christian, but ThunderWolf head coach Curtis Loyd said he couldn’t “let up” in the team’s last two regular season games.
“We are trying to play for a national championship. I can’t let up one bit, because then they let up and then we get softer. We gotta keep plugging away,” Loyd said.
Loyd’s aggressive approach was showcased in the ThunderWolves’ final regular season game. The ThunderWolves beat the Western State by 27 points.
“I’m sorry about the score, but we gotta do what we gotta do,” Loyd said.
Against the Hardrockers, Loyd said the ThunderWolves need to know “who their shooters are” and “control the boards”.
This season, the Hardrockers have averaged 34.4 percent on 3-point shots, the highest in the RMAC. This season, five Hardrockers have made over 50 percent of their shots. The Hardrocker’s are led by sophomore Sami Steffeck and redshirt senior Krista Showalter who have scored 28.8 and 27.5 points per game respectively.
ThunderWolf point guard Katie Cunningham, who has averaged 9.7 rebounds per game, will likely find herself battling with 5-foot-11 Hardrocker guard Anna Haugen, who leads her team in rebounds.