by JD Leader
As the regular season is coming to an end, The University of Tampa’s women’s basketball team is just getting started. Now that their record breaking 19-game winning streak has finally come to a close, it’s time to shift all their attention and focus on running the tables when the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Championship tournament begins in early March.
“Going into the SSC tournament I believe our mindset will stay the same,” said freshman shooting guard, Aubrey Clapsaddle. “We go into each game with 1-0 mentality. It’s all about just winning that next game.”
They have officially locked up the number one seed in the SSC with a record of 21-4, while also going an impressive 18-1 in conference play. This gives the Spartans home court advantage throughout the tournament.
With one game remaining in the regular season, assistant coach Caitlyn Mitryk, reminisced on the successful season her girls have had thus far.
“I am just very proud of the girls. The basketball season is the longest season of all varsity sports and sometimes it is a grind on the player’s both mentally and physically,” said Mitryk. “The girls have battled through training, practice, and games and have still been able to perform at a high level, which is something to be proud of. The girls have set school records and definitely made their story known in the record books at Tampa.”
The road ahead is not a walk in the park by any means, but taking it one game at a time is essential for the team to meet their end goal, which is being crowned as the SSC Champion and hoisting the trophy high above their heads.
“The only worries I have heading into the SSC tournament are that we are looking too far ahead and lose focus on the game in front of us,” said junior shooting guard, Julia Ingram. “However, the more coach stresses to us that we just need to take our season one game at a time, the more we refocus and stay in the now. As long as we stay concerned with the present and the immediate game before us, this team will be very successful.”
Ingram has appeared in all 25 games this year for Tampa and is averaging about 6.4 points per game while shooting an impressive 44% field goal percentage as well as over 37% from the three point line.
The women’s basketball team closed out the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 29, with a 66-46 win over Lynn College in Boca Raton, Florida. The Spartans are set to return home and host the SSC tournament beginning on Thursday, March 5 at 7 p.m.
While some teams back down from the spotlight of being the number one seed, the UT women’s basketball team embraces the pressure.“We’re relentless and will do what it takes to get the job done and get the win,” said junior power-forward, Anna Popovic.
JD Leader can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org