BVU Women’s Basketball ends their season graduating four seniors, retiring head coach of 26 years

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Allie Hartman

Tanner Frost, Sports Editor

The 5th seeded Buena Vista Women’s Basketball team knew that they had nothing to lose and everything to prove when traveling to Dubuque, for the first round IIAC Tournament Tuesday night taking on the 4th seeded Loras Duhawks for the second time in two weeks.

The last matchup between these two teams took place on February 10, ending in a decisive 69-56 victory for the Beavers.

Earlier in the season, the Duhawks edged out BVU 76-73 at Siebens Fieldhouse in their first game playing against each other this season.

BVU entered the competition at 13-12 overall, while Loras’ record stood at 16-9. The winner will move on to the semifinals of the tournament and complete a 2-1 season record over the other. Unfortunately, it was the Duhawks who grab the last win of the season in this heated rivalry.

The game began with a hotly contested first quarter, in which both teams would trade baskets at either end. The Beavers trailed by four points heading into the second quarter, but Loras continued to improve over the course of the night.

The Duhawks began to find to their stride, sinking countless three-pointers from well-working ball movement. The BVU defense struggled to combat the fast methodical, passing offense that came at them, but senior Claudia Larsen took control of the floor, relaxing the BVU defense with a pair of blocks.

Heading into halftime, BVU trailed Loras 36-26. After the break, the Duhawks came out better than ever, continuing their trend of sinking shots from beyond the arc. Loras boasted an above 50 percent field goal percentage in six of their last eight games, and continued to show off their recent shooting prowess against BVU.

A dominant third and fourth quarter with Loras shooting 27, then 25 points advanced them over BVU, as the final score stood at 88-55 in favor of the host team.

Larsen proved to be the standout performer on the night for Buena Vista, leading in total rebounds with seven, and total points with 16. Junior Jenn Poots came off the bench for BVU, grabbing 3 rebounds for herself, and shooting 12 points, the second highest total for the team.

Loras was led by Macenzie Kraemer, going 6-10 on field goals along with her 17 points. The Duhawks ended with a 53.1 field goal percentage as a team, along with a 47.1 three-point percentage.

Buena Vista Head Coach Janet Berry was disappointed in the loss, fully knowing the team had a significant chance to win.

“We got off to a slow start offensive and Loras took advantage of that. They got hot on the arc and we were unable to keep pace,” said Berry.

The win for the Duhawks saw them advance to the semi-finals to take on #1 seeded Wartburg. While the loss ended not only the season for BVU, it ended the collegiate basketball careers for four senior players.

Jasmine Demers, Abigail Daly, Jess Denholm, and Claudia Larsen, will be missed by both their teammates and Coach Berry, as well.

“We had four wonderful seniors on our squad and they all brought different skills and gifts to the team. They will be missed,” said Berry. “ I really appreciate all their efforts and hard work they have put in over their years.”

It was also Berry’s final game for the BVU Women’s Basketball program, retiring after 26 years in the role of Head Coach.

As a five time Conference Coach of the Year Award winner, she will be remembered as a coaching legend for BVU.

“Losing at Loras was hard, and walking to the locker room one final time was tearful. I was flooded with tons of amazing memories. I have had a great run on the sidelines but I feel great passing the torch to Dana Christen.”