WIU women’s basketball set to begin season

By R.J. Larson, Guest Reporter

MACOMB, Illinois (News3) – The Western Illinois women’s basketball team began its season Nov. 29 against the University of Wisconsin. 

This season will be like no other with the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting the world.

WIU was picked to finish third in the Summit League preseason standings, but head coach JD Gravina says it’s hard to set goals and expectations with so many uncertainties about this season. 

“It’s hard to get locked in on real tangible goals,” Gravina said. “Honestly, you don’t know how many games you’re going to get in non-conference, if you’re going to miss some games in conference season, if you’re going to have specific kids out or if other teams are going to have kids out. It’s a little bit harder to focus in on your normal result-orientated goals. You can’t really have a lot of failure.”

Although WIU lost Olivia Kaufmann, their leading scorer from a year ago, the team is still returning four starters from last season. One of them is Evan Zars, who was picked as a preseason second team all-conference player. 

Although it’s unclear what each player’s role will be with the COVID-19 pandemic, senior Sam Pryor hopes to have a role for her team on and off the court. 

“I definitely want to be the leader the girls can look to if they have questions, concerns or are nervous about something,” Pryor said. “I want to be that calming force that they can have. Defintely more of a shooting guard on the floor, rebound and defense because that will really help our team a lot, and I really want to step up off the court to be a good leader that the girls can look to if they need it.”

Fans can view the whole women’s basketball schedule and get updates about the team on the WIU athletics website at https://goleathernecks.com/sports/womens-basketball.

Fans can also get updates on the women’s basketball Twitter page at https://twitter.com/WIUWBB.