By Sarah Baer
Success seemed to be the trend of both the University of Findlay men’s and women’s basketball teams this season.
During their 2017-2018 season, the women’s team made it to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time since the 2013 Season. Despite falling to the University of Drury, a top ranked team, in the first round of the tournament, the Oiler women accomplished something that hadn’t been done in five years. The team finished their season with a record of 22-7, lead by Junior Forward Anna Hintz.
Many of the Oiler players were stand outs by the end of the season. Hintz was voted first team Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) and Senior Guard Linsey Englebrecht ranked second in Division II across the nation with 103 three pointers. Another outstanding Oiler was Senior Guard Haley Horstman who earned second team all-conference honors with a strong scoring record and 36 steals for the season. Horstman was one of only 21 Oilers to be inducted into the 1000-point club with 1,167 points. Horstman earned a collegiate title from her scoring success, being the 13 ranked all-time scorer in Oiler Basketball.
The UF women’s basketball team entered the 2017-2018 season with many returning, seasoned and experienced players. The Oilers joined the GMAC this year and were facing an entire list of new opponents. However, they entered this new conference with a group of strong upperclassmen.
“We’ve always had close relationships as a team, we’ve always been the same talented, hard-working girls. But this year we just dug deeper I think,” said Englebrecht. “It was fun on and off the court.”
In previous seasons, when the team went up against an opponent, Englebrecht says they often knew what to expect in most offensive and defensive plays. However, this year was the team’s first year in a new conference and each game was a new and challenging experience.
“I think what we did differently was capitalize on the little things during practices and in the games,” said Engelbrecht. “I think the biggest thing we did differently was battling all 40 minutes. We struggled with that in the past but not this past year. We built such a strong-willed environment that we were picking each other up.”
For the seniors, the end of the season is a bittersweet moment. Although the Oilers advanced into the NCAA Tournament, which none of the team members have done before, Englebrecht says she had a great experience this season, despite not quite reaching the team’s end goal.
“I had a blast this past season. With it being my last year, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Playing the sport I love with my closest friends was a blessing,” said Englebrecht. “I’m just super grateful for how hard we fought all the way to the final game. We had a special year and it was fun to be a part of it.”
The UF women’s basketball team will begin training and preparing for the upcoming season in the summer, and will look to place farther in the NCAA Tournament and bring home the title next year.