Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – After opening Northwest Conference play last weekend, the Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team returns to the court for non-conference play this Friday, welcoming Northwest University to Olson Gymnasium.
Now that the Lutes (1-4, 0-2 NWC) have played through their first conference tests, they have a few weeks of non-conference play to flesh out any issues that they've had with their play thus far. For Head Coach Jennifer Childress, that means getting the team focused on their goals for the season.
"This week we are focusing on better consistency executing our offensive system while taking care of the ball," Childress said. "We are also continuing to learn our defensive shifts- when to initiate help and when not to over commit."
Though this past weekend may not have brought the best results with it, Childress and company remain focused, and are encouraging their players to play fearlessly on the court.
"We are stressing to them to embrace the process," Childress said. "We don't want them to overlook the fundamental pieces that make up the final puzzle."
The process has shown flashes of success thus far, as many Lutes have shown great promise and improvement in the season's opening weeks. First-year player Emma Janousek has emerged as a true team-player and playmaker for the Lutes, as she leads the team in assists (16) and steals (11). Junior Anna Hurd sits right behind Janousek in both categories, while also leading the team in rebounds at 6.4 per game.
Freshman Madison Salisbury has emerged as the team's most dominant scorer, averaging 12.4 points per game, while Kylie Rademacher has proven to be the most efficient, shooting 68.8 percent from the floor, and 87.5 percent from the line so far this season.
As the Lutes continue to work on their game, they also have their studies to focus on. As finals week approaches, many of the younger Lutes have been able to count on their older teammates to help them get through the most difficult time of their first semester at PLU.
"Our first-year students have great older student-athlete role models on the team keeping them focused and helping them prioritize their time," Childress said.
The Lutes will have to put their studying on hold Friday evening, as they aim to enter the weekend with a positive performance.
Dec. 8: PLU vs. Northwest at Olson Gymnasium (7 p.m.)
Series History: The Lutes and Eagles have met 27 times with PLU owning a commanding 21-6 edge in the all-time series. The two teams last met during the 2015-2016 season with the host Eagles emerging with the 62-48 victory.
About the Eagles: Northwest (3-6, 1-1 CCC) split a pair of games last weekend to open up Cascade Collegiate Conference play before securing a 76-68 win over Lewis & Clark College on Tuesday night. The Eagles began league play by sneaking out a 58-52 win over Multnomah University before suffering an 81-77 overtime setback to Warner Pacific University last Saturday.
Mariah Stacona leads the team in scoring, averaging 11.1 points per game with a team-high 36 steals while Miranda Langenhorst adds 9.7 ppg and a team-best 11.1 rebounds per game.