Despite a combined eight canceled games over the holiday break between the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the season surges on for both squads.The men’s team got off to a slow start as the holiday break began, dropping their first three contests vs. Taylor University, Indiana Tech and Indiana Wesleyan University. Despite the big loss, the Leafs were not rattled, returning home to beat the Spring Arbor Cougars in overtime, 70-68 just three days later.
The Leafs were unable to capitalize on the momentum from their overtime victory however, and are now in the midst of an eight game losing streak.
Despite the sudden string of losses, one of the Maple Leafs’ top scorers, Tahj Curry, believes that the Leafholds are just getting started as the second round of conference-play begins.
“We’ve gotten better throughout the break. It’s a time when we were able to go and practice and have no outside distractions with class and homework so it was good for us as a team,” Curry said.
Some of the team’s struggles over the break can be attributed to a difficult strength of schedule, as eight of the team’s 11 opponents currently hold winning records. The men’s squad exited the holiday break with an overall record of 3-13 and 1-7 in conference play.
The men now face a tough string of away games this Saturday at St. Francis, Jan. 27 at Taylor University, and Jan. 30 at Spring Arbor before returning home to face off with the Marian Knights on Feb. 6.
The women’s squad endured a decidedly up-and-down holiday break with a record of 3-9, picking up their first three wins of the season; 79-67 at home against Grace College, 58-39 at Judson, and a tight 71-69 win at Holy Cross College.
“We haven’t been satisfied with the win-loss total, but we also had to recognize that with a few exceptions, we have a really strong strength of schedule,” women’s basketball head coach Stephanie Miller said in reference to her squad’s seven matchups against teams with an above .500 record.
“In some cases, I think that it may have hurt our confidence a little bit having such a strong non-conference strength of schedule, but right now it actually may be working in our favor as we learn how to finish some of these games,” Miller said.
Miller also emphasized her team’s recent success with the return to classes, noting two strong wins in an away contest at Grace College, as well as a home win over the Leafs’ Crossroads League Rival, the Bethel Pilots, moving them to 5-12 on the season.
The women’s squad gets back to home-court action this Saturday as they go toe-to-toe with the St. Francis Cougars for the second time in four days.