I have spent three years working games for the Wartburg Women’s Basketball team, and for three years I have seen a team that has continued to get better every game.
Three years ago this was a team that was under .500 in conference play, now a conference championship appearance, a Final Four run and an IIAC Regular Season title later, this is a team that can beat anyone in the country.
I think the thing that impresses me the most every time I see them come on to the court is just the team atmosphere. I don’t see a group of individuals, I see teammates, friends and family. All led by an amazing head coach who treats everyone with respect, Bob Amsberry.
Two years of going to practice have taught me many things about this team. I have learned no matter what, this team refuses to give up. I have learned they do not have to rely on one individual every single game. Most importantly, I have learned this team never settles and always works to get better.
This is a team with no seniors on the roster, but has impeccable leadership from its junior class. A starting lineup made entirely of juniors who have all played big minutes in the past makes this team so tough to beat.
Coming into this year, there were things each individual player needed to improve about their game. Just in the starting lineup there have been incredible improvements. Katie Sommer is now a strong finisher at the rim and is shooting a career high percentage from the field. Aryn Jones is now a huge threat from the post who is averaging double figures for the first time in her career. Miranda Murphy is now just as dangerous from behind the arc as she is down low. Kristie Sommer and Morgan Neuendorf have both become elite defenders who can take away the other team’s best option.
The scariest part about this team might be the fact the whole team may be back next year. No graduating players, a junior class that has plenty of experience, sophomores who have become valuable contributors in their second year with the varsity team and a freshman group of five very talented players who are going to get even better.
As good as this team is now, the threat of how good they will be is incredibly dangerous.
From top to bottom this is a group built to win and is willing to do whatever it takes to help their team.
I have been around a lot of sports in my life, seen a lot of teams, but this is my all-time favorite team. A team of incredible young ladies, led by a group of talented and amazing coaches. I am excited to see what the future brings this group.
The Cinderella tag is gone and this team won’t sneak up on anyone this year, but just because you know what’s coming, doesn’t mean you can stop it.
This year, the Iowa Conference Tournament runs through Waverly, Iowa.