For the first time since 2017, the Goshen College women’s basketball team will compete in the Crossroads League tournament, securing the seventh seed with just one game remaining on the season.
For the three seniors on the team, it will be their first conference tournament appearance.
“We’re all pretty pumped,” said Claire Rauck, senior guard. “ I think we have the ability to beat anyone on any given night, and we really do just have to play like there’s nothing to lose.”
Despite the conference tournament bid, the team wasn’t quite satisfied with how the regular season played out.
“All of us thought we could maybe take one more step then where we’re at [this year],” Miller said. “But we’re not disappointed in having a crack at the conference tournament to see what we can do.”
With a plethora of juniors on the team, Miller believes making the conference tournament was promising for the future.
“The biggest step we’ve taken is really proving we can play in this league and compete at a very high level.
The Maple Leafs are set to take on 16th-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University in the first round of the tournament, a team they pushed to overtime in early December, coming up short; 81-70.
Looking ahead to the matchup, Miller said they’re approaching it with a bit of a different perspective than many of their other games.
“I don’t think you can go out to a conference opponent, having seen them twice, and be exactly what they saw the first time,” she said. “We’ll have a few things in our bag of tricks.”
In addition, Miller said they will have a different mindset as they will likely be the underdog in the rest of their games.
“We’ve got nothing to lose,” she said. “For us, it’s just playing with that underdog mentality where we’re going to come at you; we’re going to keep coming at you and if we lose the game, that’s what the world expected, but if [the other team] falls behind, they’re going to hopefully feel that pressure.”
To find success with this mentality, Miller said they will approach it quarter by quarter.
“Our goal will be to win each quarter by one,” she said. With a goal in mind to, “keep the game simple.”
GC will face off against their conference rivals, Bethel College in their final game of the season. Although the game doesn’t have postseason implications, Miller says they won’t have any trouble getting energized for the game.
“It’s just a grudge match. We don’t like them much and they don’t like us much.”