Since tipping off for the first time in 2012, the Bruins women’s basketball team has scored 1,496 points, logged 1,000 minutes, and won 17 games in 25 tries at home. In his first two years at the helm, Coach Mike LeViere has led the Bruins women on a journey of success and improvement as they seek to follow Christ and challenge potential on the basketball court.
However, the women have been shaky since the end of a four-game winning streak in January, and Monday’s game against the visiting Tennessee Temple Crusaders proved to be no different.
The Bruins began the game with energy, and sophomore guard Kendra Jeffcott led the team to an early 8-point lead with her play on the low block. By the end of the half, though, the Crusaders had stepped up and left the Bruins behind. Multiple blocked shots from the Crusaders and shoddy passing from BJU impaired the Bruins’ ability to score. At the end of the first half, the Bruins trailed 29-32.
During halftime, the Bruins’ seniors were recognized. Only two members are leaving after this season: one plays on the court, the other behind the scenes. Senior Dennae Koenke, the team’s head manager, will certainly be missed. “She is a major attribute to our success this year,” Coach LeViere said. Senior Kim Spiecker was also recognized. As the first senior to move on from the women’s team, Spiecker will leave behind big shoes to fill. Spiecker has been a leading scorer over these two seasons, amassing 406 points.
In the second half of the game, the Crusaders continued getting blocks and working the ball down low. The Crusaders’ 3-point shooting added to BJU’s woes, and Temple snagged a 75-59 victory from the Bruins. The loss was the Bruins’ third in a row, and they are now 0-3 against Tennessee Temple in their first two seasons.
“In the first half we were doing really well and had an 8-point lead,” Coach LeViere said. “Turnovers hurt us — they always bite you, and they did. Second half we were neck and neck, swapping the lead back and forth, and I think fatigue might have been a little bit of a factor. Our bench was a little bit weaker tonight than normal, but effort-wise I think everyone played really hard.”
With the regular season behind them, the Bruins will look to prepare for the regional tournament in March. According to Coach LeViere, “We’ve got to buckle down and play 40 minutes of really good defense.”