IWU basketball hits milestones and breaks records

By adviser Feb 12, 2021
Opening tipoff against North Central. Photo: Andrew Zienty

Since resuming basketball competition, both the men’s and women’s teams have seen recent team success and individual success. 

After a top ten ranked showdown between No.4 Illinois Wesleyan v. No.9 North Central at the Shirk Center this past Saturday, Feb. 6, IWU men’s basketball gained one spot in the national ranking. 

This No. 3 rank is the highest the team has achieved since the 2013-2014 season. This weekend’s win comes after the recent announcement that all division III winter sports championships are officially canceled.

“We were unsure if we were going to even have a season and now that it is here, the uncertainty of our schedule makes preparation difficult,” head coach Ron Rose said.

The team is 2-0 and had a near-perfect performance from junior guard Keondre Schumacher with his 8-for-10 from the field and 7-for-8 from beyond the arc earned him 23 total points and a spot on the D3hoops.com team of the week.

The last time an IWU basketball player received this honor was when junior Matt Leritz earned the recognition last year. Leritz had 13 points and 9 rebounds in the win over North Central.

Junior Matt Leritz going up for a shot against North Central Photo: Andrew Zienty

The recent victory over No.9 North Central, 91-77, came after a four-game streak of postponement due to COVID-19 protocols and weather. This break did not cause the team to miss a beat as they led North Central the entire game and led at the half by ten points, 52-42. 

Our goal this season is consistent with what it is every year; to become the best basketball team we are capable of becoming,” Rose said.

The team is scheduled to host North Park on Feb. 12 and Millikin on Feb. 16 after two more postponements scheduled against Augustana. 

“The uncertainty of our season has been very difficult to navigate. Our focus is on enjoying every opportunity we are presented, whether it is a practice or a game,” Rose said.

Kendall Sosa taking a shot against Carroll University Photo: IWU Athletics

Along with the men’s team’s recent success, the women’s basketball team also had a significant record broken in their win against No.13 Millikin.

Senior Kendall Sosa broke the single-game scoring record on Tuesday night, Feb. 9, long-held by Lila Wagner from her Jan. 5, 1980 performance. Sosa also tied Greg Yess for most points scored by any Titan in a single-game with her 47 points.

“Even with all of the postponed games, I feel as though we have been able to play at a high level. We have a lot of returning players, so it made it much easier to pick up where we left off,” Sosa said.

This record-breaking night from Sosa propelled the Titans to a comeback win over Millikin 81-72. 

This win helped increase the Titan’s overall record to two wins with one loss, “The pandemic has been difficult.  We have had over 50 practices and only two games,” head coach Mia Smith said.

With all DIII national championships’ recent cancellation, the Titan’s goals have had to change slightly.

“We still have a conference championship to look forward to. Our seniors have won the conference tournament all three years. That has become our goal and to play as many games as possible and cherish our moments together,” Smith said. 

After losing their first game to Millikin 82-90, this recent match carried a lot of weight as the titans near the conference tournament on Mar. 1. 

“As a team, we are just extremely grateful for the games we do get to play. We are tackling this unique season together and taking advantage of the opportunities that we do get,” Sosa said.

Sosa led the team with 47 points and was followed up by junior Brooke Lansford with 11 points and senior Samantha Munroe with 10 points. Senior Riley Brovelli snagged 9 rebounds to help lead the team to victory.

The team is scheduled to play North Park at North Park on Feb. 13 and then North Central at home on Feb. 23.

By adviser

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