With appearances in the NCAA tournament the last two years, including a Final Four run in 2016, the Wartburg women’s basketball team came into the season with a lot of promise. Since the start of 2018, the team has vaulted into the top two in the nation for the first time in program history, and they just broke the school record for the best start to a season ever by a Wartburg women’s basketball team: undefeated at 15-0.
The record was broken after the team took down Luther and Simpson, the two schools in the conference poised to show the Knights the most trouble, by 20 and 15 points, respectively. While the fashion of these victories was a surprise to some, senior point guard Katie Sommer said it was just another day at the office.
“Our mentality coming into every single game is to put the hammer down,” Sommer said. “We want to crush other teams’ hope, so the next time we play them we don’t want to make them think that they can beat us.”
In her senior season, Sommer has entered the 1,000 point club, broken the record for the most career assists in school history, and continues to climb the top ten in made free throws and made threes. Her sister, Kristie, is poised to break the career three-point record in the next couple of games, with only eight to go.
The breaking of these records, according to head coach Bob Amsberry, is emblematic of how experienced this team is. With a starting lineup of five seniors, Amsberry said their experience over the last couple of years has done wonders to move this team forward.
“This group’s been doing it for a long time, and I think the experience they’ve gotten has propelled us into what we are today,” Amsberry said.
Though the start is historic, Amsberry recognizes that the team cannot take their foot off the gas.
“We know we’re going to get everybody’s best effort,” Amsberry said.
“But we’re only worried about things we can control, and that’s preparing the right way; holding true to try to be the best version of us we can be. When we are, I think we’re really hard to beat. When we don’t do it that way, we’re really vulnerable.”
Both Amsberry and Sommer agree that the team is not unbeatable. That said, both think their success is a matter of preparation, standards, and mentality.
“We have the potential [to win a national championship]. The sky’s the limit for this team,” Sommer said. “I think with our experience and our mentality and our high standards that we set for ourselves, I think that will help lead us to where we want to be.”
Because of the nature of the season, Sommer and the rest of the team have made history in multiple ways, and continuing to do so would all to it all. Sommer said being a part of a team like this is a very special thing.
“[We’re proud of] being a part of something bigger than ourselves; the fact that we play for each other and have one goal in mind,” Sommer said.
“The culture on this team is something special. I love how this team acts and carries themselves. It truly is a family.”
The Knights will look to pick up where they left off against Buena Vista on Monday night in Levick Arena, and will play again on Wednesday night before getting Saturday off. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. for both games. You can catch coverage of those games on both Knight Vision (Monday only) and KWAR 89.9 FM.