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Women's basketball riding nine game winning streak

By Erich Pilcher
On February 6, 2018

Photo by Jeff Sigmund. No. 33 Olivia Usher looks to set the offense up in prime scoring position.

When a collegiate athletic team is the defending national champions, one would expect there to be a falloff or at the very least revised expectations. There are no gimme wins. Every team is going to give their best shot. It would be a grind on most teams. 

Thankfully, The Kirkwood Community College Women’s Basketball team is not most teams. They have taken every team’s best shot and instead of breaking down appear to be heading into championship form at the exact right time. 

On Jan. 28 the Eagles extended their impressive winning streak to nine games with a 82-44 throttling of the Southwestern Community College Spartans. 

The win improved the number two team in the nation to 19-3 on the season and 5-0 in conference. The Eagles rode a hot shooting night from Christmas Puok. Puok shot 6-9 from the floor and scored 13 points.  Freshman guard Haley Mullinnix chipped in with 15 points off the bench to lead the Eagles in scoring. 

 It was complete game for the Eagles. They out rebounded the Spartans 51 to 19 and forced 21 turnovers. The defense held Southwestern to a paltry 34% shooting and only 6 points in the paint. The Eagles only allowed 16 points through the first three quarters. The Spartans did get an offensive spark by scoring 20 in the final frame. Bench scoring was also crucial. Kirkwood outscored Southwestern 47-4 in bench points. 

“During the nine game winning streak defense has been the key. “I think we are defending very well and now we have begun to execute offensively better,” said Head Women’s basketball Coach Kim Muhl.

One asset the Eagles have had is they have multiple contributors. Sophomore guard Tayana Wilson lead the Eagles in scoring averaging 10.4 points per game. Sophomore Awal Ajax is just behind that averaging 9.3 points per game. 

Rebounding has been beneficial as well. Kirkwood is currently averaging 36.5 rebounds per game. Puok leads the team with 4.3 per game, however Axcell and freshman Leah Robinson are right behind her both averaging 4 rebounds per game respectively. 

That diversity has been beneficial for the Eagles. “We are very balanced so I cannot say that there has been one person over another,” said Muhl. “It has always been that way.  I think it makes us very difficult to prepare for and guard,” Muhl added. 

Currently they are tied with rival Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) atop the Iowa Collegiate Athletic Conference. The two teams face off Feb. 3, at Johnson Hall with a 1 p.m. tip time. 

With one month left in the regular season, expectations are high. But for the Eagles it is about staying focused and healthy. “As long as we stay healthy I think people can expect to see a group of kids who work well together and will play hard to win games down the stretch,” said Muhl. 

 

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